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Zealuu

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You have one life - and one Proving.
- Jakharan proverb

The Divine Jakhari Empire consider their society to be the purest of meritocracies. The only globally permitted religion on Jakh, known colloquially as The Faith, prescribes a strict system of castes. Castes are not hereditary – each individual is sorted into a caste based on their performance during the annual event known as The Proving. The Proving is a series of tests encompassing both mental, spiritual and physical abilities. Crucially, performance during the Proving determines whether or not a Jakh will receive their Citizenship upon reaching maturity.

The Early parts of the proving are dominated by theoretical and practical tests of intelligence and faith. It concludes, however, with The Proving of Battle, a highly ritualised combat tournament. In addition to being of great importance for your sorting, the Proving of Battle is a hugely popular, massively spectated event. Winning tournament during your Proving is a badge of honor to be worn for the rest of a Jakhar's life.

Those who perform sufficiently in all areas become Educated, permitted into higher education to hold future positions as skilled labour. Those who excel in either combat or mental abilities are sorted into the Warrior and Scientist Castes, respectively.

Those who excel in all areas are sorted into the Cleric Caste. The Warrior Priests of Jakhar represent the absolute elite of their military power, and are in addition tasked with directly attending the divine leader, the physical embodiment of The Faith – The Avatar. The upper three castes – Warrior, Scientist, Cleric – make up the aristocracy of the Jakhari.

Those who are deemed unsuited for other tasks are sorted into the lowest caste, the Slave Caste. The Slave Caste perform supervised agrarian and menial labour. They are always sufficiently provided for, but retain few of the rights that Citizens do.

Because of the nature of the Proving, it is not unheard of for the children of slaves to become Clerics – and the other way around. However, rumors are whispered of deep-seated corruption within the proving, making it so that even a poorly performing child of a favored Cleric or decorated general is less likely to be sorted into. The clergy violently repress these rumors, as faith in the sacrosant nature of the proving is the foundation upon which Jakhari society rests.

With the discovery of Faster-Than-Light travel, guided by the prophetic visions of The Avatar, the Jakhari immediately envisioned themselves as natural galactic overlords. They are physically adept, mentally superior, and have devised – in their eyes - a perfect, ordered society.

***

"And now", though The Avatar, "I have to break this perfect society."

There could be no mistaking her latest vision. The Jakhar standing, triumphant and alone, in a sea of stars. At their feet; chained, formless shapes. Every detail of the vision was etched into her memory, and the smallest detail could potentially be of the greatest importance. Of all the Jakhari standing in the asterian sea, not one had borne the umistakable brand of a slave.

She left the solitude of her chamber, and was immediately attended by several Clerics. "Prepare the global feeds," she said curtly. "I have an announcement to make."


Jakhar.jpg



[NOTES:
- I'm not playing Ironman because slavery becomes a huge problem with sectors, so I increased the core planet cap - and you can't play Ironman modded (obviously)
- I'm going to favor short, frequent updated over longer and more infrequent ones. The last time I did a narrative AAR (for CK2), the narrative mode became something of a problem because the narration takes so much time when more stuff happens.
- As the title suggests ("Stories"), I'm going to combat that problem partially by cherrypicking the bits I feel like narrating, and assume that all you intelligent and wonderful people know enough about the game to fill in the mechanical gaps about me researching stuff and building mining stations.]



Table of contents

Setup: This post

Chapter 1: The Avatar of Fury
- Our place in the Galaxy
- The Avatar of Fury
- Xenos (1)
- Xenos (2)
- Playing into our hands
- The AI Decree

Chapter 2: A Strange Reflection
- The Triangle War
- The Ancients
- A Strange Reflection
- Succession
- Gambit
- The Safest Place in The Empire

Chapter 3: War
- Pyres
- Half a Century
 
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Zealuu

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galaxy.jpg


"We know something of where in the galaxy our homeworld is located in relation to everything else. We also have a rough idea of where there are stars. But we know woefully little of anything else."

The Scientists arrayed in front of The Avatar were visibly nervous. Aristocracy they may be, but they often had little reason to meet directly with The Avatar herself. Not so anymore. The Avatar's response was curt. "There is life somewhere in that darkness. I want it found. And I am not referring to the ... What did you call them?"

"Void Clouds," said one scientist, and eagerly continued. "We decided on that name because of their particular properties -"
"I don't care," The Avatar cut him off. "Sentient life, not aimlessly drifting space fauna. We can't communicate with it, and we certainly can't enslave it."

Nobody responded. The Avatar continued, unfazed. "But we can hunt them. I want our fleets tested for battle before we meet any potentially dangerous xenos with ships of their own. Kill anything that moves inside our systems that is not one of our ships."

The Scientists nodded, said their praises, and scurried off. A Cleric approached, looking like the bearer of unpleasant news. "What?" she said dourly.

"The Admiral is requesting more ships. Specifically, he has devised a fleet doctrine that, according to him, will ensure victory against both hostile fauna and enemy fleets - when we find them.

She had picked the admiral herself. He had won his Proving Tournament some twenty years ago, and had not made a single mistake so far.

admiral.jpg


"The Admiral will have his ships. And get me a copy of his doctrine proposal."
 
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Zealuu

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Are they full-size now? I'm working on a not-huge screen at the moment, so I don't know how large the forum "full-size" attachment function actually is.
 

Baron Jukaga

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Are they full-size now? I'm working on a not-huge screen at the moment, so I don't know how large the forum "full-size" attachment function actually is.

Perfecto! I've been playing peaceful technocrats so I'm looking forward to seeing how the other side plays. Hyperlanes on a spiral seem tailor made for early wars, as you'll likely find you're boxed in on both sides. Let's hope there's no advanced aliens right next to you!
 

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Ooh, an evil society. This should be fun.
 

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The Avatar of Fury

Vikal Vagras stood at the helm of his new flagship - Javelin. It had become the namesake of the new Javelin-class corvette. His other design, the Dagger-class, outnumbered his Javelins two-to-one. The reason he had located himself on the Javelin-class was to reduce the chance of the fleet having its commanding officer - him - killed by a lucky barrage. The Javelins launched flurries of torpedoes at distant targets, while the Daggers moved to engage at close range with traditional energy weapons.

His complete doctrine had included additional proposals for Point Defense Screen and Shield Breaker ships, but the technology simply wasn't ready yet - and the fleet was needed now.

The Pirates had been something of a surprise to everyone. By attacking shipping lanes and civilian freighters being used for the galactic expansion, they were effectively committing heresy. Their punishment, if they were taken alive, would be severe. Of course, that all depended on Vikal and his ships. His small, but - he hoped - capable navy. And, he mused, the reason why he was running through ship designs in his head was because they were minutes from closing with the pirate ships. He refused to call it a "Pirate Fleet", as a matter of principle.

His fears were alleviated the moment battle was joined. His ships performed crisp maneuvers, and executed his battle plan to perfection. He had, of course, expected no less from his staff, but it was a relief to see it all come together nonetheless. The Pirates had been expecting a lengthy exchange from a distance, and was surprised by the Daggers' frenzied closing behind the first torpedo volley. At close range, the lasers ate through hulls almost immediately, and the newly-fitted Deflector shields kept the pirate weapons from doing much damage. Once engaged with the Daggers, they pirates were left to choose between evading either torpedo volleys or Daggers. All in all, the battle ended with the pirate ships scuttled entirely, and only minor damage to some Daggers.

However, there had been reports of a hideout or "base" that the pirates retreated to after their raids. AFter ascertaining that there were no survivors, Vikal ordered his fleet to make a hyperspace jump in the predifcted direction of the pirate ships.


pirates.jpg


It wasn't visible to the naked eye, but even a cursory scan of the asteroid belt revealed the pirate base. It was a cobbled-together mess fused partly into a hollow asteroid. It had defenses that were apparently manned, but as the assault progressed the station crew must have made their way to whatever passed for escape pods in there.

"Sir," said a Warrior from the small complement aboard each ship. "Should we prepared a boarding party?"

"No," said Vikal. The Avatar had been clear: Take someone alive if possible. I want to make an example of them. A boarding action could be costly - they would have to fight for every inch aboard the station, where the enemy had a defender's advantage. And fallen heretics though they may be, they were still Jakhar, and would put up a fight. "Stand down, Warrior. We are not giving them the satisfaction of a good death. We are blowing them up."

The asteroid broke apart like a nut being stepped on, sending debris slowly floating away into the void. A scan picked up a lifeboat and a few smaller pods, all of which were gathered up. The Avatar would have her due.


***


The Sentencing was broadcast publicly, at the express order of The Avatar. Unlike with most trials, she had invoked her powers to deliver the sentence herself.

The Capitol Sentencing Arena was ancient, stemming from the time of the First Avatar, and centuries of winds and sand had ground away much of the ornamentation, leaving the stone warriors lining the Judges' dais looking more like faceless watchers than the ancient warriors they were supposed to depict. Today, they looked sternly on the five pirates who sat, grim-faced, on the stone floor of the arena.

The Sentencing had reached its conclusion. All that remained was for the The Avatar to pronounce the sentence.

"You are found guilty not only of murder and treason, but also of causing an interruption of my direct orders - in oher words, heresy."

She spoke calmly, but Vikal knew her tells. She was seething with fury.

"Who do you pick as your champion?" she asked the five. One of them got to his feet. A warblade, reserved for ritual combat, was tossed at his feet. This was the last step before the sentence was announced, and while the arena had fallen silent, the tension was palpable.

"You are sentenced to One."

A murmur rose up among the gathered Jakhar. Vikal's mind raced. Something was going on. What was The Avatar up to? He had expected the sentence to be at least Five, maybe Ten. Something to make it abundantly clear that her designs on space were not to be trifled with.

"As mine and the people's One champion, I nominate ... Myself."

Something fell into place in VIkar's mind. Of course. She wanted to make an example - and she couldn't do that through intermediaries. Broadcast across all of Jakh, she would remind everyone what being The Avatar actually meant. The silence had taken on an excited quality.

As The Avatar disrobed and received her warblade from a Cleric, the grim-faced pirates had begun figdeting.

She entered The Arena, and the brass gong was struck. The pirate champion barely had time to raise his weapon before The Avatar attacked, moving like a blur. Their blades clashed only a few times before she scored a hit on the pirate champion. And another. And then ten more. Blood spattered the stone floor. The Pirate was hopelessly outmatched, soon enough the Avatar had handily dismembered him. She personally executed those he had represented - his loss meant their lives were forfeit.

At the close of the sentencing, blood flowed between the stones of the arena as it had for hundreds of years prior. The widely broadcast images of the blood-drenched Avatar personally bringing justice to her enemies cemented the legacy of her reign - in future histories, she would be known as The Avatar of Fury.

Piracy was never heard of again within the Divine Jakhari Empire.
 
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So that's how you handle any sign of rebellion. I feel bad for any species you come across weaker than you, as they'll certainly be made into slaves... though it does beg the question of what will happen if you encounter something stronger.
 

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Xenos should be enslaved. Failing that, they should be purged. If potential slaves inhabit a planet that is ours by divine right, do not suffer them to live.
- Xeno Contact Protocol, as recorded by the Avatar of Fury


firstcolony.jpg


"Surely this is proof of our divine favor, Avatar?"

The First Colony had been established, and the ship didn't have to travel far. The neighbouring Acculum system held a planet that largely mimiced the natural habitat of the Jakhari. A different development altogether was threatening to outshine what had already been declared a day of celebration.

The Avatar said nothing at first, and then asked the elated Scientist: "How common is the mutation?"

"About one in ten of the Warrior caste. More common amongst Clerics, less so in the lower castes."

"And the implants are ready now?"

"Prototypes, yes."

"Outfit those affected with implants. Attach them to the new Orbital Assault Squads as an experiment - we need to gauge their combat effectiveness before we begin large-scale implementation."

The Avatar, Vikal thought, had a sharp mind, but famously little patience for theoretical science that had little practical applications. Combat application was valued above all else. And this certainly had - the team of biologists had struck sweet water, so to speak. If implemented, their ground combat doctrine would change dramatically.

psi warriors-cropped.jpg


Vikal Vagras was anxious about another policy adoption, but this had nothing to the with the development of psionic warriors. His proposal would involve a lot of engineering and testing, but - like with his fleet doctrine - he was certain it would pay off.

"Admiral," The Avatar started. "Your proposal - I am approving it, but we will have to run several exercises before I trust it to be used in actual warfare."

He nodded. Previously, warfare didn't have to account for moving from planet to planet - and so the question of how to land troops on a hostile planet had never truly been posed before. Several solutions had been experimented with. One could load a small complement of troops aboard each combat vessel, and then land those, clearing a landing zone as they went. It kept the troops safe, but it was fundamentally inefficient. Or they might use dedicated transport ships that landed, and simply be prepared to suffer losses as they entered the atmosphere and became a potential target for defensive guns.

His proposal had the benefit of not requiring vulnerable transport ships to enter the atmosphere of a hostile planet. Instead, they would enter a low orbit and drop assault pods at targeted locations. Each pod contained a platoon of Warriors, complete with supplies and equipment that would keep them self-sustained until they could link up with the other pods and form a larger force. In theory. However, both the drop pods themselves and the ship modules that would carry and launch them had to be developed, and the Warriors trained in orbital drops.

"Dismissed, Admiral," said The Avatar, bringing Vikal out of his reverie and ending the audience.


***

He didn't have to wait long for his field test. During Surveys of their galactic arm, they had come across a planet inhabitated by intelligent life, although rather less evolved than the Jakhari. More detailed scans told us they had only recently invented gunpowder. They were blissfully ignorant that their home was just one of many belonging to the Divine Empire, but that would soon change.

Vikal was aboard Javelin, the fleet having just escorted the new transport ships first into the system, and then into orbit. The pods were launched, and they were making landfall about now. At this point, he could do nothing but watch, and hope that he was right. They were attacking a primitive species, yes, but it would nonetheless stain his record irreversably if all the pods exploded before making contact with the surface. Or upon making contact with the surface. He needed this to work.

The natives called their planets Naff'Olimb, and the sound it made was as alien as they looked. Imaging showed bipedal molluscs - they had faces, but their faces also had tentacles. The planet itself was dry, which suited Jakhar, but also punishingly cold except in the equatorial region. They had no interest in settling on it, but the Sirgogg, as they called themselves, would be the first new slaves incorporated into the Divine Empire.

It must be a weight off The Avatar's shoulders too, he thought, having her promise of Xeno slaves finally vindicated. But then again, she had known all along, and that was why she was The Avatar.


***

Excerpt from Recorded Oral Histories of Sirgogg Slaves
(General perusal forbidden by order of The Avatar, #11344)

... Our people long a prophecy that promised that Star Saviours would arrive on the planet and teach us to coexist. After the Dark Period, where petty fiefdoms waged endless wars, the Conclave mandated that peace was an absolute moral obligation, until the time when the Star Saviours would arrive.

Of course, when people from the stars came, they did not come to enlighten us. This is why the day they came is known amongst us Sirgogg as The Day of Darkening. It began with flashes in the sky, and then the metal carriers full of cruel warriors. We know them now as our Jakharan overlords, but for the longest time, we hoped there had simply been some kind of misunderstanding ...

They knew exactly what they were doing. How naïve we were, when we looked up at the stars during that time and saw light, not darkness. Our children are born into slavery, and die as slaves. Our labour makes us cogs in their relentless war machine. Perhaps one day, the true Star Saviours will come, and wash away the taint of the Jakhari.

...



Collage-first invasion.jpg



***

"... A resounding success, Avatar."

"Good. Then we are ready to begin widely implementing this orbital drop doctrine. You are to be commended for your work in adapting our tactics to this new era."

Vikal bowed his head in deference towards the comm screen.

"What about the Psi Attachments? How did they perform?"

"Well, but the Sirgogg resistance was limited. They need to be tested against harder targets before --"

The Avatar and Vikal's conversation was interrupted by a Communications Officer hijacking the feed. On Jakh, The Avatar looked up, and said icily: "I hope this is important."

The slightly out of breath Comms officer mumbled something, and then said, more clearly: "I think you should see for yourself, Avatar. Patching you through ..."

On Vikal's screen, inside Javelin, the Avatar's military broadcast feed had replaced their personal communications line. A gut-churningly ugly, glistening creature filled the screen. It spoke, and the audio was slightly delayed as the words were parsed through both translation software and encryption protocols.

"Well met, Jakhari. I represent the Seban Sovereign States."
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Psionic warriors will make the Jakhari stronger, and I see First Contact went well for establishing some Xeno slaves. That said, I'm far more interested in the Seban Sovereign States. Enslaving a species that hasn't reached the stars yet is one thing, but that pails in comparison to a war with another space-faring empire.
 

Zealuu

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Xenos

xeno scum-cropped.jpg



Contact with the Seban Sovereign States had been brief, and public reaction to their decidedly alien appearance had been a mix of amusement and digust. After their abrupt greeting, they had issued a warning to The Avatar and the Jakhari themselves to “respect the Seban borders”. Jakharan survey ships had approached their territory while investing further along the galactic arm.

“Our first priority is to secure Hyperlane access to the outer and inner arms - but after that, we will test their resolve,” was the only word from The Avatar on the matter. To this end, further colonies and Frontier outposts were established in the direction of the outer arm - “west”, in traditional geographic terms, accurate enough when space was represented on a flat plane. The Sebans were to the “north”, and so the “south” and “east” would have to wait - for now.

***

Vikal Vagras and his fleet - now bigger and incorporating his proposed designs for Point Defense Screen and Shield Breaker corvettes, named Buckler-class and Ripper-class, respectively - moved at a leisurely pace towards Seban territory.

Their mission was surprisingly civic-minded, but also included an element of military posturing. Two habitable planets had been discovered during recent surveys, nested against the Seban border. The Avatar had immediately ordered the colonization of these worlds, demarcating The Divine Empire's own borders, and possibly provoking the slimy Sebans in the process. Vikal was here escorting the two colony ships through the treacherous Northern Reach, where some of the less-intelligent aliens had massed in numbers sufficient to threaten civilians hips.

They reached their destination without incident, and the fledgling colonies were established. They were to become the nexus of a new administrative region called the Shield Worlds - but they needed time and resources to develop. The Fleet stayed in the system, anticipating Seban aggression.

new colonies-cropped.jpg



When he reflected on it later, Vikal thought it amusing - but also strangely ominous of events to come - that when the expected aggression finally came, it was not, in fact, from the Seban states ...


bessadon - cropped.jpg
 
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Zealuu

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Bit of a short one because I ran out of time to write - more's coming, either today or tomorrow. We're definitely heading towards a confrontation...

Thanks to everyone who said nice things so far!
 

Saithis

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What a fantastic start, I really enjoyed reading this. I always enjoy a good alien culture, and this reminds me a lot of a similar Saurian-type race I wrote a long time ago. Eagerly subbed and I look forward to seeing how these first contacts develop.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Ah, already testing the waters with provoking other intelligent races. Funny enough, I could see the Bessadon Kingdom getting along with you if things were different, considering you both like slaves.
 

Zealuu

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What a fantastic start, I really enjoyed reading this. I always enjoy a good alien culture, and this reminds me a lot of a similar Saurian-type race I wrote a long time ago. Eagerly subbed and I look forward to seeing how these first contacts develop.

Glad you like it!

Ah, already testing the waters with provoking other intelligent races. Funny enough, I could see the Bessadon Kingdom getting along with you if things were different, considering you both like slaves.

Yeah, we're pretty similar, but ... They enslave their own.
 

Zealuu

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Playing into our hands

At the helm of his new flagship, Longbow, the first Destroyer ever produced in the orbital shipyards above Jakh, Vikal Vagras surveyed his growing warfleet. He was flanked by another Longbow-class destroyer, and at the front of the triangle of Destroyers, surrounded by smaller corvettes, the newly comissioned Breaker-class - an even larger point defense screen, but also equipped with brand-new Railgun technology.

On one of the new Shield worlds bordering the Seban States, the colonists had encountered another primitive civilization, the Antigonji. They were monstrous-looking, but posed little threat, as they had only recenty developed iron-smithing techniques. They were prime candidates for enslavement, but The Avatar had given a different order: “Purge them. We do not need someone competing with us for living space in the future.”

purge the xenos-cropped.jpg


As the purging of the new world progressed, they had been contacted by another species of intelligent xenos - the Bessadon Kingdom. They were like the aliens of fiction - vaguely Jakharan in appearance, but with strange facial features and skin hues. Presumably, they thought the same of us, Vikal mused. Their interest was a strange one, however - they seemed to regard the Antigonji as a potential client species, and so had interjected on their behalf. The conversation between the Bessadon representative and The Avatar had been brief.

“Greetings, Divine Jakharan Empire. I am authorized to speak on behalf of our Opulent King. I see we share some physiological traits. Perhaps we also share some sentiments?”



The Avatar had eyed him - or her, it was hard to tell - suspiciously, and responded: “I doubt that. Why have you contacted us?”

That set the tone for the remainder of the conversation. “Very well, Jakhar. Your subjects on a planet near our borders are currently taking part in what seems to be a highly organized genocide aimed at the primitive Antigonji society native to the planet. We ask that you control your subjects, and curtail this activity at once.”

The Avatar looked at him impassively and said, “I personally ordered the planet to be purged of Xenos. My subjects are perfectly under control, Bessadon.”

“But that is a monstrous thing to do!” The outrage could be read plainly even on the alien features displayed on the monitor.

“As I told my people, I see no reason to accept competition for worlds that belong to us by divine right. We treat other species more benevolently.”

“I must interject and demand that you cease the purge immediately!”

“You are in no position to make demands, xeno scum. The only interjection we will consider is of the military kind.”

The Bessadon representative had sputtered for a few moments, and then killed the feed.

An hour later, the feed lit up again with an incoming message.

bessadon - cropped.jpg



“Consider this a formal declaration of war, Jakhari. When we are through, you will be in no position to threaten anyone ever again!”

The Avatar looked pleased. “Say, Bessadon, do you not also live on desert planets?”

“Yes, but why --” The Bessadon diplomat cut himself off, and made a displeased sound before killing the feed again.

“It would seem we have our first interstellar war,” The Avatar had announced to her immediate staff. “Inform the admiral. Finish those Destroyers as soon as possible.”

***

Vikal was looking forward to the battle. Numerically, they were evenly matched with the Bessadon fleet, but he expected his own doctrines, designs and the iron discipline of his officers to win them the day. There was also an economic factor playing into this war - if either side lost their fleet, it would put an unbearable strain on their economy to replace it. Effectively, a loss of the fleet would mean losing the war.

An urgent communication interrupted his train of thought. The encryption key indicated it came straight from The Avatar on Jakh.

"Avatar," Vikal began, bowing his head in deference.

"Admiral. I'm sorry, but we have no time for pleasantries. I need to you to halt your advance on Bessadon territory."

Vikal was taken aback - what now? - but responded reflexively. "Yes, Avatar."

"I know you must be wondering why, so I'll tell you at once. There has been an ... Interesting development."

The Avatar made a series of amused clicking noises, and then continued: "The Seban States have just declared war on the Bessadon Kingdom."

***

Retrieved from The Archives - Historical Map Data: "Initial Shield Worlds and Northern Territory before The Triangle War, c. 2240 (Mode: Strategic overlay)"

before the triangle war - cropped.jpg
 
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TheAnguishedOne

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Bad time to be the Bessadon Kingdom. I guess the Seban States are taking advantage of the situation. Given the Bessadon's request that you cease purging, I predict you'll listen to that request and enslave their species.
 

Machiavellian

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I am enjoying this AAR very much. Keep up the good work. I guess that Avatar's plan is to let the two Xeno's fight each other for some time, before swooping in and claiming what they wish. Careful that the Bessadon's don't surrender to the Seban forces first though.
 

Zealuu

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The AI Decree

The Avatar awoke with a start. These had been dark visions - the Sea of stars subsumed by a storm of fire, the planets turned to grinding metal cogs that produced nothing but blood. A decision waited - something that would be the first, trying step on a path that could, potentially, lead down a road towards the conclusion she had seen. But when would the decision present itself?

Out of habit, she padded to her private communication central. An urgent message from Monak Vagras - a distant relative of the Admiral, and the head of Empire-wide engineering research - had been received in her absence, a proposed project requiring her approval.

She read the outline and projections, but remained unconvinced. There was also the matter of the vision. She put in a communication request to Vagras, hoping he may be up. Moments later, the request was accepted, and his red scales filled the screen.

"Avatar," he bowed. She responded formally. "Scientist."

"I am going to assume that you read my brief, but have some follow-up questions?"

"I did, but I also failed to grasp what you hope to achieve."

"We almost have the technology - both software and hardware - to make simple, inorganic slaves."

"Robots?"

"Yes - robots. Whatever you want to call them. Not like the ones children make, who move on wheels and are capable only of executing a few simple commands and crashing into walls. That is - their programming is rudimentary, but advances in actuators and hydraulics mean they can be used effectively for manual labor, potentially in harsh climates."

"I see. You want to make ... Machine slaves?"

"We can call them that, yes."

no robots-cropped.jpg


The Avatar thought for a moment. "To where do you see this technology advancing in the future?"

Monak Vagras seemed surprise by the force with which the question was asked, but responded earnestly. "From this basic design, we can incorporate more powerful hardware platforms - bodies." He paused for a moment, and considered, before continuing. "Sufficient advances in programming may let us implement some kind of adaptive routine instead of purely conditional programming, to let the robots perform more complex tasks."

"You want to make ... Artifical Intelligence?"

"That term has a lot of unpleasant connotations, Avatar. And from a philosophical point of view - giving a machine anything resembling intelligence - or worse, a sense of self - would be irresponsible. What happens when they object to being powered off?"

"Exactly."

"But I'm talking about adaptive programming, not intelligence."

The Avatar nodded. "I see your point, but brace yourself for disappointment, Scientist. I cannot approve this project. You should pursue another venue of research."

The Scientist looked dejected, but bowed his head in deference. "As you say. We have also made promising projections for a new type of non-FTL thruster for our fleet."

"The Admiral will be pleased."

"No doubt," the Scientist said, with only a tinge of bitterness creeping through.

"Do not believe this refusal casts aspersions on your work, Monak Vagras," The Avatar said. "There are substantial reasons for why I could not approve this research you. I will broadcast a decree at dawn."

***


"... We will never possess machine slaves. With this decree, such research is permanently outlawed.

Imagine, if all our slaves on different planets could all wordlessly communicate with one another - surely they would rise up on a devastating, coordinated rebellion. I have seen what awaits the galaxy if we all begin to rely on intelligent machines to do our bidding. There will not be a single population of machines dwelling within our Divine borders.

There are others in the galaxy who will no doubt walk this path. It is our responsibility to stop them. And if we cannot stop them in time, then we will watch them torn apart by their former slaves from the safety of our homeworlds, knowing that all life within our borders is organic..."

- Excerpt from The Avatar of Fury: Collected Decrees, vol. III
 
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