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Sep 11, 2012
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Diplomatic processes are passed on through the ages. They predate most civilisations. They have to; the risks posed by physical promiscuity between wildly different lifeforms are just too great. Diseases, micro-espionage, biological timebombs, you name it. The little monks of the moon know it. They claim that empires follow dark ages in an eternal cycle; this is not the first time the peoples of the Galaxy have convened together on neutral ground to discuss common interests. And they insist that ancient diplomatic processes put paramount emphasis on physical separation. Force fields make it easier, of course.

So, no tentacle-shaking today.

The rules might be old, but the station itself is brand new. Will it stand the test of time? I wouldn’t know; I am merely a scribe. I have been charged to record the words and deeds of the ambassadors, with a long term perspective. My target audience lives one million year in the future, at least, for such a long time relevancy is the stated ambition of the group that fitted the moon base for diplomatic purposes. No one alive will ever consume this report.

Let's discover the ambassadors who have already settled on the moon with their retinues. I won’t actually introduce them to you, nor will I speak to them; remember, I work for the future, not for the present.

Baron Hoyt, the Cheehot ambassador
, looks happy to be here. His yacht arrived first, and he scored what he deems to be the choicest quarters for the Imperial embassy, with a great exposition to the light of the Core. Humour is not my forte, so I will refrain from evaluating the quality of the many puns and light jokes he seems to use for punctuation. Baron Hoyt is not that much interested in negotiating peace, so he spends his considerable free time fencing and threatening his friends with slashing devices. I think there is also some romance involved, but at a level I do not entirely comprehend. The fellow is small, most of the time; every four hours or so, he interfaces with some kind of vegetal machinery whose official purpose is listed as a bed, though I suspect sexual entertainment is what it's all about. The thing makes him double in size for a short few hours.

Hoyt, the Cheehot swashbuckler turned ambassador, favours this sword, stolen to an enemy.

Tsog, the Cthulh envoy, is his exact opposite. A thoughtful diplomat, supposedly a poet, his huge hulk of a body navigates the drowned corridors of his section of the base with restless disquiet. His pet activity is scrutinising, a lot, anything. The rest of the time, he looks to be digesting his thoughts. He barely converses with the other Cthulh. Sometimes they hold meetings. They disagree a lot. They drowned their quarters but did not remove the furniture that was in place. Out of laziness, maybe. Politically, the Cthulh have yet to make an official announcement; they have been content to just stare at the other parties.

The robot majordomo at the entrance desk of the Cthulh embassy.

I don’t know yet what to think of the ambassador of the Throne, Son Excellence Kap. In front of his peers, the creature is doing his best to make a good first impression, but he does so without telling much about himself, his species and his government. He just can’t be that shy. Keeping mum about some state secrets? The social interactions within the Letho delegation are the hardest to pierce. What is clear, however, is their interest in the station and its technology. They have been marauding all over the place. They even tried to get themselves invited in the other embassies, unsuccessfully so far.

Last but not the least, the Aego diplomat behaves like a very serious person in exile in a mad country. He is both guarded and melancholic. Or maybe he is sick. Not happy to be here, for sure. He may actually be an exile. I wonder if his name, Professor Murder, provides any clue about the reason he was selected to reside on the diplomatic moon.


OK guys, ladies, the rules if you would like to participate (minor interactivity sanctioned by Qorden): I am going to start the AAR, using one of those four civs. I play on Ironman, max size, 4 arms. Each time a civ is discovered, you have the possibility to play the role of their ambassador to the diplomatic moon. Just play the role; if your character of the moment tries to interact with one of the four ambassadors above, I will respond accordingly within 48 hours.
My goal is to tell a good story and have fun with it. I will start the AAR next post.


And... I'm starting not far from the edge of the intergalactic abyss. Now I understand why Professor Murder arrived after the other ambassadors.
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The Aegoi are a proud species, who have held a variety of beliefs and ideologies during their long history. History on Hekat, their planet, was won by the Aego peoples who used and abused of the Dust, a substance that augments the body and mind. It was a bloody victory; the Dust alters the behaviour and many Aego queens chose to fight it on the basis of spiritual and political concerns. Those rulers and their subjects were slaughtered in vast quantities. All of that happened centuries before the Age of Space and the four world wars that each dealt with the consequences of this initial victory of the servants of the Dust. Nowadays, the Aego civilization is mostly introspective and trying to redeem itself. On the other hand, the Dust has rarefied. Rare compounds need to be found elsewhere in the universe. That is a mighty incentive for the conquest of space. Plus, an extremist minority keeps adoring the Dust as their godlike First Principle. They are the traditionalists, the most xenophobic and militarist of the bunch. Most Aegoi just want to live a normal life and are content with the semi-democratic political system, which rewards soldiers with the right to vote for the election of the Consul.


The Dust, a rare drug native to Hekat, makes the Aegoi Strong, Talented, Enduring and Nonadaptive (the Dust is complicated to manufacture).
My first build at start is a mine: great need of mineral and Strong pop. I will also clear access asap towards a society tile. Due to annoying experiences with the Sector AI (e.g. radioactive science bonus tiles being cleared and all kinds of crazy behaviour with slaves), I will want to major in Society for Administrative Efficiency.
Ominous Stare's stats are good, even though I would have preferred food and happiness bonuses. Let's build mines quick and then scale the fleet to deal with early threats!
Four years have passed.

Only critters met so far (and they have no representatives on the diplo moon). I am waiting a bit before researching the Alpha Menace.
Resource-wise, I am switching back to food production on the homeland. Right now I just need to build a few stations and buy 2 or 3 more corvettes. I already have my first biolab and a bit of armor on my ships. Physics is lagging behind.
I wonder where to expand first. On the East is the end of a galactic arm. Is it empty?
I need to build another science ship soon.

Tsog and Professor Murder are friends. Who would have thought? Apparently, they have known each other for quite a long time, if only by reputation. Professor Murder speaks Cthulh, or at least one of their main languages. Professor Murder's aides are never leaving his side when he is chatting with the ambassador of the Sothic Impulse, though. There is a certain measure of fear about what the giant could do. The history between Cthulh and Aegoi is a bit complicated, apparently. There has been quite a bit of internal fluid spilled over the history of their relationship.
In other news, one of those despicable and haughty creatures, the Figyar, has finally heeded the summons of the monks of the moon. Come to think of it, I expected them sooner, given the care they are known to give to their brand. Ambassador Braque is not the worst of them, apparently. His demeanour is studiously calm. The calm before the storm?

The Honourable Ambassador Braque (nickname: "Georges"), up for grabs!

"Initiate, please repeat and confirm.
- Consul, it is my pleasure to announce that we have located what is probably another space age civilization, maybe even a Type 1 one! They are based around the Cormaggion star, where you remember we identified in the past a pronounced red edge...
Ominous Stare was absorbing the information, allowing emotions of fear and hope to express themselves in her inner sanctuary. Fear that this civilization would be unfriendly, and of course hope that it would be friendly. She knew life on Hekat was of the bird eats bird type, and there was no reason the situation was different elsewhere.

The truth was worse than her worst nightmare (because she was a most competent leader but, truth be told, not that imaginative).


Oh dear. A few months after the last update, I discover the presence of the Sothic Impulse -Cthulh space- two warp jumps away from Hekat -but who knows, the wormhole-using creatures might be able to cross that space in one go. The Shadow of the Dust neighbours a not so friendly local mad cult armed with nukes and an entitlement derived from religious convictions. The Cthulh immediately close their frontiers, which does not bode well for the capacity of the Aegoi not to fall back in the barbaric ways of their civil war days. I will indeed prepare for war, but do not plan to start one. Yet. Let's first move eastward on the end of the galaxy arm....

Oh dear.



Two things of interest. Their emblem and their leader...

A Fallen Empire. At least, they are not Isolationnists. I can still fart in their general direction, but I will not be able to touch their precious holy worlds.

Well, time to hit the pause button and ask around. What would you do? You can answer this question straight, out of character, and/or you can also choose to interpret or describe Ambassador Braque on the diplomatic moon. A little detail though: the opening of the moon to diplomatic activity will not take place before decades, at best. The AAR report and the moon roleplay are on different timeframes. You can mention those events though

For the record, a bit more information about the Cthulh... a "
normal people" that is on the edge of becoming a race of monsters.
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Good morning you. Not interrupting?




What happened to your tentacle-hair? It's all messy.


Thinking about the old times always makes me look like that. The stupidity...


Ah. It started right from the beginning. Our expedition was purely scientific, and you treated us like it was a military endeavour. I remember also we were startled to discover the specifics of your religion. Some of our people immediately adopted it, but it was so creepy. Woah, talking about creepy, beware!


Bonjour messieurs, comment vous portez-vous? J'espère que votre processus de sustentation et de digestion s'est déroulé dans de bonnes conditions ce matin.




Ambassadeur Tsog, votre apparence est altérée. Les tentacules semi-fonctionnels de la partie supérieure de votre enveloppe présentent un facteur entropique sensiblement différent de l'habitude.




Whatever. We were talking about the early days of Ctulhu-Aego relations. About how much we hate each other. Wanna join the sadness circle?

Note: all images in this AAR are hosted on Imgur. All images belong to their respective owners.

In the 7th year of the DIS (Dust Into Space) calendar, Initiate Gez and the crew of the Glide exploration ship discovered a previously unknown Aego organisation secretly headquartered in the Dearum system, between Dust and Sothic space. They called themselves the Brotherhood of the Void and stated their only desire was to meditate, but their armaments betrayed their true intent. The Consul Ominous Stare immediately understood that this group was funded and masterminded by the Sothic Impulse. She immediately ordered to delay the colonisation efforts and to focus on the fleet. The Glide was able to scan the vectors of a consequent military fleet leaving in the direction of Schinik, where many strategic and costly installations were located. Everything pointed to subversion by the Cthulh intelligence service allegedly directly led by their supreme leader, Cthugh, the Cthulh Bearer of the Eye. These efforts would serve to undermine and weaken the Aego state before a full-blown invasion.
Ominous Stare ordered the fleet to move to Schinik to intercept the rebels before they could inflict substantial damage. The fact that the cultist fleet changed course and attacked instead the neighbouring system of Brigaffa hinted at infiltration by enemy agents inside the Aego government. The final showdown happened around the Oort Cloud of Brigaffa. A fifth of the fleet was destroyed in the battle, but victory was ours. The rest was a mop-up.
The True History of the Aego people, Indigo Zek of the Plateau of Nur​
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As long as there was not a state of war or a clear imbalance in navy size, Ominous Stare was intent on securing the future of Aego civilisation by expanding its reach in the stars by pacific means. For a long time, three planets had been identified as good picks for colonisation efforts. But the discovery of Furud II by the Glide changed everything. The planet was large, fertile and would allow the Shadow of the Dust to extend westward in a significant fashion. Unfortunately, a few weeks later, the Glide caught electronic signals emanating from the Hirim system. A space age civilisation was living there. Ominous Stare decided not to engage this new entity until an Aego ship would land on Furud II. The race was on!
The True History of the Aego people, Indigo Zek of the Plateau of Nur​
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The Tzinn delegate has arrived. Predatory and supernaturally angry. The other ambassadors have come to salute him. "You there", "what a pleasant surprise". He did not look surprised and he did not look pleased. He stormed off in his apartments. The Cthulh and the Aego are chatting about the past again, or talking about Cthulh literature or Aego pop culture, but I sense that they are just in wait for another opportunity to tease the proud Tzinn.
So, I managed to catch Furud...


Another desert-based species originates quite close to it.

The Tzynn are not beatniks. I can expect conflicts and lots of it inside this cramped region of the galaxy that the Aegoi call home.

I pause again for a little bit.

There are now two characters available for fun roleplay in the diplomatic moon which opens its doors in the future of the Spire of Golom: the Figyar (Ambassador Braque) and the Tzynn (naming available).

I am also looking for some advice.
My perception is that, by settling on Furud in the West, I did good but will inevitably antagonise the Tzynn Empire. As desert dwellers, the Tzynn will anyway set greedy eyes on my worlds. While the North is out of reach and the East is mostly secure thanks to the Figyar Guardians, the South is being colonised by the Sothic Impulse. War with them too might be inevitable. I might want to pump up the navy quick so as not to appear as an easy mark. Now the question is: should I attack first?

My first thought is that it is not the right time to launch an attack. Better wait for one of those two empires to get embroiled in a war (preferably against each other, though I do not bet on it). It would also be good to discover empires beyond the Tzynn, who might rival them. And I would find it rewarding to score an actual alliance with one of those two peoples, the best to endure in the Galaxy and focus on expansion. What's your take?
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I was a bit disappointed by your behaviour with our Tzynn friend the other day.


Speak for yourself. And I know you know I cannot stand them. They are a species of mindless agressors, for Nodens' sake!


Aren't we all, minus the mindless part? Remember those big lizards in Furud? If not for Cthulh reporters, the world would not have know what you did to them in those special labs.


And what happened exactly? Only necessary things. The Dust defines us. We had to test our new neighbours, see how they would react to exposure.


But you did not stop when they started screaming...


I see where you're coming from, but it was really a necessary evil. If the Dust could have been weaponised... Anyway, it's all in the past. I can see you, Kap.


Votre Excellence Kap, s'il vous plaît. Un peu de décorum. Mais continuez. Je ne faisais que tester ma cape d'invisibilité. De toute évidence, la technologie n'est pas au point.





When I saw that the Tzynn were open to the idea of a nonagression pact, despite me colonising a planet next door, I immediately set upon building a good relationship with them.

I wanted to build more trust in order to secure this initial pact, hence a research agreement.

I think they do not have immediate neighbours to their West; the empire I found is a few jumps away.

It means they have room for growth and I probably only have to worry about the Sothic Impulse for the time being. I decide to expand my colonisation efforts. In Furud, the local pre-sentient lizards stifle the growth of my population. I will change my policies and do bad things to them.

And I discover a potential rival next to a planet I want to acquire. I will put an observation post as soon as possible.

The known world, DIS 13

The Lozavata ambassador (to be named) is up for grabs.

Pourquoi ne pas parler de la guerre cthulh-aego ? Après tout, c’est bien à elle que vos deux peuples doivent de s’être rapprochés, d’où votre présente félicité, n’est-ce pas?





The Cthulh-Aego War was a mistake.


You should now. You started it and it backfired.


The Sothic Impulse had no choice. It was a desperate attempt at securing a safe position before the advent of a Aego-Tzynn defensive pact looming in the future.


Nonetheless, this aggression was completely unprovoked and inflicted massive casualties among Aego civilians in Furud.


Speak for yourself. The Cthulh media were abuzz with reports about the Aegoi slaughtering millions of potential adorators of the Thing there.


Quelle est cette Chose dont vous parlez?


Oh, the Thing is the casual name for the God who stored his Eye on our homeworld. Supposedly. You can say You-Know-Who, if you prefer.


The colonists in Furud belonged to the hunter faction. They said it was their divine right under the Dust, as apex predators, to hunt inferior beings. Later, they paid the price. Almost all of them died in the Cthulh bombings. At the time, Furud was a strange place.
The war was long. The Impulse had a massive military advantage at the beginning, and even more after the destruction of the Aego navy in Hekat-Atho, but the Cthulh had neglected their army. When they blockaded Furud and bombed it back to the stone age, they did not proceed with an invasion immediately. Aego officers stranded there had plenty of time to draft a vast army. They were led by General Mercy, who later managed to escape the blockade and lead the invasion of Gluggdhei, the Cthulh world in Botein. In the meantime, the Consul had managed to focus the economy on the war and a potent laser platform had been erected in reach of Hekat, allowing the Aego forces to regroup and rebuild safely. After that event, the superior technology and the heavy industry of the Shadow of the Dust made its eventual victory obvious. In hindsight, focusing on Furud, a planet with no industry and almost no population, was the biggest mistake of the Cthulh. A war of attrition against the mining stations, followed by a direct attack on Mareenius Prime, the third Aego planet, much more prosperous, would have dealt severe blows to the Shadow.
In the end, the war lasted 12 years (DIS 16-28) and ended up with a harsh treaty: Gluggdhei was evacuated and the Sothic Impulse fell under the authority of the Aegoi, though it retained local autonomy including its peculiar form of government.


A holo of the devastating bomb launched above the canyon in Furud where the ship-city had landed. The defensive walls were obliterated and most inhabitants died within a few minutes.


The timing of the Cthulh declaration of war was not very propitious. They took their time to actually cross the border, and I was surprised to see them attacking Furud, who had no spaceport and nothing of value, instead of the space stations littering my space. I built what I thought would be a wholly insufficient army, but the Cthulh were content to bomb and bomb instead of sending troopers.

Please notice how I lost my last Aego, meaning my growing Pop is bugged. I later turned on Land of Opportunity to try and bring back Aego pop on the world. But the setback was real.

I tried hit and run tactics but the combination of wormhole travel on Cthulh side and jump wind-down on my side doomed my fleet.

If I had built the station first, I would have doomed their pursuing fleet. The Cthulh returned to Furud and their pointless bombing, though. Rather than risk my assets again, with the Cthulh stalemated due to their absurd focus on Furud, I focused on the economy.

I invaded Gluggdhei, in the Botein system. The foundation of this colony made me lose two systems to the Cthulh in peacetime. It was in direct reach of Hekat-Atho, my capital system. It had to fall first.


When given the opportunity, I would destroy the wormhole stations.


The final battle was as one-sided as the first one. But I was the winner this time.

Many more small events happened in the course of this war; but basically, when I moved my fleet and my navy in the Churassix system while being able to defend Gluggdhei, the dice were cast and the AI knew it.


"Say my name. Say it.
- Ominous Stare."
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Time for a report on geopolitics. The two exploration ships of the Shadow of the Dust stumbled on new empires, which barred them from further explorations for the time being. Plus, the Aegoi intelligence service infiltrated a planet of strange aliens and took control of their government despite a rogue agent.
The Aego geographers know of seven empires.

From right to left:

1. Figyar Guardians

A Fallen Empire of Avians.

2. Shadow of the Dust

The planet we infiltrated shares a sun with our third colony. It is full of arthropoids with a knack for physics. They finally understood they have been conquered and are not happy about it, but they will change their minds.

3. Sothic Impulse
Vassals of the Aegoi.

4. Tzynn Empire
The reason the Tzynn were not interested in attacking the Shadow of the Dust or the Sothic Impulse might lie on their Western flank.

5. Xanyr Empire

On the other hand, the Xanyr Empire has found a weaker prey than their reptilian neighbours.

6. Sovereign Lazavata Worlds


7. Confederation of Opyrra Ju'kal

They prevented my ship from crossing their territory, and then changed their minds, but too late. The Xanyr Empire is blocking my exploration efforts.
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Hello folks, while I plan to continue the AAR and I have great fun with it, I see that I failed to propose a good path to interactivity. The openings are too much open-ended, and the consequences of readers' involvement on the course on the gameplay are unclear. That plus the bunch of excellent AARs on the forum make it difficult to catch the interest of the audience.
I will try to propose something slightly different in the next posts. Any feedback is of course welcome.
In the last few chapters, we have seen how the Shadow of the Dust expanded from DIS 0 to DIS 16 across about one million square parsecs. Then war was forced upon the Aegoi and the Aegoi bled and suffered, but managed to ultimately prevail (DIS 16 - 28). The end of the Cthulh-Aego war heralded a second age of exploration. The development of a new generation of warp drives made it possible to cross the fantastical distances between our arm of the Galaxy and the next, that the Aego etat-major came to call the Still Wind Country.
What the explorers discovered in this region was different. No large empire had carved itself a territory in Still Wind Country.

Ominous Stare was re-elected for a fourth term in DIS 30. There was some dissent after the news of her victory was announced. The Hunting Party, a new faction born out of the ashes of the martyred Furud colony, was growing in power and demanding that Aegoi seize their rightful place in the region. Close to Furud system lies the border with the Tzynn Empire and its rich warm homeworlds. Ominous Stare, content with the status of her office, mostly ignored the Party, only placating them with new hunting rights on Furud.

In DIS 31, a remote empire was located in the galaxy arm beyond the Still Wind Country. The Uva-Xavani Compact, while strange and not really friendly, did not belong to the same line of political tradition as the empires of the Nest Region, which were run by warriors, not smooth-talking political scientists. Nonetheless, a minority of the Aego youth was fascinated by what they perceived as a more raffined and ancient civilisation.

Ominous Stare was just happy that this potential threat was a distant one.

A couple of years later, another empire was found next to the Uva-Xavani.

There were scattered hints of sentient activity in Still Wind Country, though. Was the absence of spacefaring empires the result of a culling, similar to the one the Aegoi enacted upon the Furudians? Archeological discoveries -that at the time (DIS 33) were not disclosed to the general public- pointed to the existence of a genocidal machine intelligence, in a distant past.

The sentient species to be found in the region had lost their technology. One specific race, the Cynn, discovered in DIS 34, was the target of another secret infiltration by the Aego intelligence service. Ominous Stare's objective was initially to neutralize a potential player in the region. When it became clear that the fools were about to self-destruct in a nuclear war, she decided instead to initiate Project Capture. It would keep nukes out of Cynn claws and ensure a foothold in Still Wind Country for the Shadow of the Dust. Her proactive acquisition of this world was also a way to deny the Hunting Party the use of their usual electoral arguments.

A dozen years of explorations by faster-than-light manned ships and automated probes brought back news of seven new empires.







The Cheehot Imperium was peculiar. It was part of a larger alliance and covered a small territory, with dominion over only one inhabited system, but their navy was considered on par with the Panaxala forces and they were incredibly aggressive, in a weirdly suave way.

In DIS 40, Ominous Stare was elected for a fifth term as Consul. Truth is, the Aego empire needed her talent to achieve a lot with minimal investment. The ventures in Still Wind Country and the development of the homeworlds were very costly to implement. It meant she had the pleasure to see Project Capture to completion. In DIS 43, Suet-Re-Pold became the first Aego world in Still Wind Country.

Ominous Stare was also able to complete another pet project, the uplifting of the Furudian survivors and their transformation into a race of servants. Her main intent was clearly to deny their preys to the Hunting Party, all in the name of the superiority of the Aego race, thus stealing the xenophobic electoral card from the Hunters. The Snakeoids, as they began to be called, were all drafted instead by the Temple of Powder, to become initiates of the Dust and to serve the Aegoi forever. Those who refused to participate in the Powder Kill training were ostracised, though not purged.

On the geopolitical front, these were peaceful years for the Shadow of the Dust. Too peaceful, maybe. Rumors of war were coming from the Northwest. The Xanyr Empire had swallowed all of Lozavata space, thus denying the Aegoi a precious trading partner. Even farther, in DIS 46, the small Cheehot Imperium launched an attack upon the larger Jusstkan Republic.

Ominous Stare prayed her luck would hold one or more decades. The Aego navy had not been expanded since the end of last war, due to the lack of close enemies and the good Tzynn buffer. The rise of the Xanyr Empire and the events involving large alliances of xenos elsewhere in the galaxy might end up bringing violence to Hekat doorstep. She knew she had to prepare her people for this potential outcome.
The True History of the Aego people, Indigo Zek of the Plateau of Nur​
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Fast forward DIS 81
Like a rush of wind in the high country, time had switched allegiances, spread knowledge and destroyed aspirations. One thing had not wavered under the assaults of age: Ominous Stare. The 113-year old ruler had lost count of her elections at the supreme position of the Shadow of the Dust, which had transitioned into a martial democracy. It never was easy. Each and every time, she had had to manoeuver against young and old foes. The Hunting Party was persistent. They had spread their political reach out of Furud, helped by a massive holovid industry that promoted the pioneering style of this planet. The Lady Protector had devoted considerable amounts of money to develop their planet, but nothing she could do seemed to accomodate her ungrateful opponents. In an ironic twist, there was now a very vocal minority of Aegoi in Furud which, influenced by Tzynn music, had started to mingle with the Snakeoids in a way that revolted their neighbours. In a few cities, they were rumors of mixed couples. Ominous Stare had pulled some strings to let this situation develop. It was a nice way to humiliate the Hunting Party.
Aego strategists have developed a better understanding of the workings of other empires. They have divided the world in five zones of interest.


The Nest Region
It includes the South of the Last Arm, from the land of the Figyar Guardians to the outer reaches of the Xanyr Empire. The Shadow of the Dust expects military and political dominance over this region. There are three threats here.
The Tzynn Empire is stuck between the Great Xanyr Hegemony (ex- Xanyr Empire) and Cthulh-Aego space. Its inferior scientists and industrialists did not manage to develop a colonisation programme in Still Wind Country. It might be tempted to attack one of its neighbours. Unfortunately for the Tzynn, all of them are more powerful. So the reptilians bid their time and export their strange, rebellious love-inducing sound culture instead. They have also made many commercial treaties with the Shadow, sending them mountains of materials in exchange for scientific assistance.
The Sothic Impulse used to have three times the firepower of the Shadow of the Dust, when all investments were devoted to the operations in Still Wind Country. General Mercy successfully petitioned the Ecclesia, though, and an armament programme was started in the 40's. Nowadays, the Aego Navy is on par with most empires, superpowers excepted. It even includes support battleships. The Cthulh devote a lot of their economy to building and maintaining their fleet, perhaps hoping to gamble their fate on a liberation war against the Shadow. In DIS76, Cthugh, their odious cult-style leader, personally threatened Ominous Stare and all her descendants of a fate worse than death. Ominous Stare dismissed him and chose not to pursue the matter, instead letting General Mercy handle the diplomacy with the Cthulh from then on. The Aegoi do not fully expect the Cthulh to provide their support in a war.
The Great Xanyr Hegemony gets closer and closer to Aego space as new Aego stations sprout in Still Wind Country. Their foul rulers are always plotting some malevolence. While they would be unable to reach the Aego heartlands easily, they are certainly able to threaten the smaller Tzynn state.
The Aego doctrine states that the Nest Region is under the influence of the Shadow of the Dust. Any external foray should be repelled. The Shadow of the Dust should police this space against the excesses of some of its mad inhabitants.


Still Wind Country
The reason why huge swaths of space have been left untraveled and unoccupied by the galactic powers is less and less of a mystery. According to archaeological finds, this region is haunted by tragic history. The Cybrex probably called it home. Dissenting historians think that there might have been at least two separate instances of interstellar genocide in the region.
The Shadow of the Dust was the first to invest heavily in this space, taking control of planets held by smaller species before they could discover FTL technologies. Their citizens are now more or less loyal to the Shadow of the Dust. There are four or five Aego frontier outposts in the region. The only other empire with a permanent settlement in the region is the Uva-Xavani Mandate. Their incursion in Still Wind Country almost spurred the Ecclesia to declare a state of hostility against them, but Ominous Stare managed to convince all the principals of the Shadow of the Dust that it would be counter-productive. Other wars need to be won first before the Aego Navy could be sent that far away. Instead, an envoy of Ominous Stare reached an agreement for scientific cooperation with the Uva-Xani. The Shadow of the Dust even agreed to export precious materials to this potential rival.
Aego doctrine is insistant upon the need to secure as much as possible of space within Still Wind Country, while avoiding to share a border with another major power.

Uva-Xavani Space
The Uva-Xavani are pacifists, but they are controlling no less than 18 worlds. They are the dominant power in the South next to the Core. The current Aego policy is to cooperate with them to a certain extent. The Shadow of the Dust covets their technology.

The West
The Canthari and the Cheehot, united within a Grand Entente, dominate this quadrant of the Spire of Golom. They have been embroiled in a long feud with the xenophobic Jusstkan race, which is now weakened and probably a target of the Yapathi Imperium. Both the Canthari-Cheehot and the Jusstkan are also the enemies of the Kenjor Alliance, which federates two subconscious consensus-type nations, the Hythean (and Lagin Chuuz vassals) and the Kenjodan.


The Great East
This quadrant is the hunting ground of the aggressive Dyss Imperium, which owns probably the most powerful military if you except that of the reclusive Figyan and Belmacosa nations. The Throne of Bacta was one of its victims. Another one is the desperate Glorious League, which is on a glorious path to extinction: the Sovereignty of Ruthor is now an enclave in Dyss space, and the Wessari State is dwarfed by its neighbour.


Beyond the Core
This quadrant is the domain of the fabled Yapathi Imperium and of the even stranger Belmacosa Primacy. Its wonders have not yet been fully mapped and multiple exploration crews have been lost to its hidden dangers.


And then, one fine day in the second month of DIS 81...

When General Mercy learned the news about the Xanyr-Tzynn war, he could not help but smile. The Xanyr should not be allowed to rampage and destroy one Aego ally after another. Surely, the Lady Protector would now rally to his vision of uniting the Nest Region under the aegis of the Shadow of the Dust! Immediately, Mercy instructed the Military Academy in Mareenius Prime to prepare the cadets for war against the Xanyr. The invasion army would be ready to act when Ominous Stare would give the order.
Serving under Mercy, General Val, Free Furud Press​
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This seems interesting. I will sub. A question though, are the Shadows of Dust a reference to His Dark Materials, the book series?

Ambassador Twighlight Array 17, what a pleasure!


Just call me 17 please. Professor Murder, the pleasure is mine. I had been meaning to meet you for quite a long time. I just arrived on the moon and this place is incredible, even by Yapathi standards.


By Aego standards, this place should not exist.


Think about it: the monks who own this place have managed to neutralise the pull of the Core Hole in close proximity to it. How did they even manage to go there safely in the first place?


I have been thinking about that last part lately. I do not believe the monks built this place.


Who then?


The Cybrex, or the forerunners of the Belmacosa.


Je pensais la même chose, je dois dire !


Wow wow, what about some manners? You just appeared out of nowhere.


Désolé. Son Excellence Kap, à votre service. Je sers le Trône de Bacta.


The Throne of Bacta? I thought the Dyss Imperium put an end to this secretive cabal of scientists?


L'espèce letho persiste, envers et contre tout. Mais, oui, vous avez raison. Des administrateurs dyss répondent au visiophone lorsque vous contactez une planète letho.


So why are you even here... Nevermind.


He's cool, I guess.


I have a question for you Professor. Why is your nation not called the "Aego Imperium" like it obviously could be?


According to some of my fellow citizens, the Aegoi are not in charge; they are merely the carriers of some holy purpose, transubstantiated into something we call the Dust. The Dust, for them, is our gateway to a world made of ideas instead of matter. Our empire is supposedly the actual material shadow of some truth existing on a higher plane of existence. Ridiculous, I know.


Pas si ridicule. Je ne devrais peut-être pas le dire, mais nous sommes au courant de vos recherches dans le domaine mental.


Well, it is no state secret that we fund extensive studies in synaptic art, alternative meditation techniques and neurobiology. I don't know why you would imply there is anything worth hiding there.


I suspect Son Excellence Kap might be hinting that you pursue scientific endeavours that might be landing you into trouble, a bit like what happened with the Belmacosa Primacy.


Oh. So you do know about that.


Of course. The Belmacosa are silent, but our "pen friends" in Hekat-Atho told us everything about it. The Belmacosa agent appeared directly in your Lady Protector's nestroom, made a little show of power featuring the assassination of her lover - and director of your robotics programme - and successfully demanded you stop any investment in robotics. Yeah, we know. Everybody knows.




Although, of course, we agree that this whole anti-robotic business is ridiculous. Your robots are nothing like the Cybrex.


Ridiculous indeed. Our robots are nothing like the Cybrex.

Hi, thanks for the sub and please accept the ambassadorship to one of the top 3 superpowers in the Galaxy. I did not know of the His Dark Materials series. If required, I can retcon the name of the Yapathi ambassador or any other detail, of course.

Professor Murder and his retinue have retreated into their quarters after the Yapathi ambassador mentioned the DIS 92 incident with the Belmacosa Primacy. The Aegoi are not the heroes that their Furudian holovids would make you believe, apparently, and they now have been schooled by powerful and irritable creatures.
I do like these holovids, though. So much information to absorb.

I am not merely a scribe. I am a caretaker of history. I gather history, I dust it and I preserve it for its future users. Lately, I have been studying Xanyr history. The Xanyr are an interesting species. They are arthropoids and their appearance, if I understand correctly, fits a classic pre-FTL meme of the "hostile bug alien" in the Yapathi Imperium entertainment industry. The Xanyr are impressive creatures, intelligent and not devoid of empathy. They are not innately hostile to any other lifeform. They followed a very logical path of evolution that brought them to the space age and beyond, into the stars. Provoked by the Lozavata, they decided to conquer them in order to earn a seat at the big boys table. Faced with an ever hostile Tzynn neighbour, who did not hide its intent to eventually expand westward, they preferred to act first. However, they had underestimated the frustration of the Aegoi after the annexation of their Lozavata trading partners. The rulers of the Shadow of the Dust did not want a repeat of that situation, since the Xanyr would not accept trade, hence the DIS 81 - DIS 85 War of Lozavata Liberation, that ended up with the re-creation of a Lozavata nation.

The Aegoi landed on two planets and dispatched the Xanyr army with frightening ease. When it comes to claw-to-claw combat, the Aegoi do perform as in the holovids.


Four years after the Xanyr admitted their defeat, the stockholders of the Mirovandia Consortium became more and more hostile to the Shadow of the Dust. The Aego expansion in Still Wind Country was by then in full swing. From what I have been able to collect so far, the Mirovandia Consortium hoped the Uva-Xavani and Aego empires would clash over this region of space. According to the Mirovandia Consortium, the successful diplomacy between their two neighbours meant a more direct approach had to be taken. The Aego analysts, however, dismissed this confrontation as posturing and just suggested that no new outpost or station be built in the Eastern part of Still Wind Country without a serious assessment by military intelligence.

I have just a handful of robots. What did me in was the +10% research Sentient AI tech. Now I wonder, I cannot build new robots for at least 10 years; do I need to disassemble the existing robots to lower my threat to the Primacy? I am in no shape to face them right now, I have maybe 10K fleet and no torpedoes.
In retrospect, the most important event of the early 2nd century DIS was the death of Ominous Stare, in DIS 111, in her twelfth decade of service at the helm of the Shadow of the Dust.

As can be expected for an event of such magnitude, conspiracy theories abound. The fact is that Ominous Stare died privately, and that her body was sent back to the Dust quickly, so her funeral rite may coincide with the Peak Summer Ceremony. Some say the Lady Protector succumbed to a nefarious killing disease, sent to them by the First Line of Succession, the Cthulh faction deeming themselves the true heirs of Cthugh. Cthugh himself had passed away in a freak accident shortly after his public challenge of the ability of Ominous Stare to rule. At the time, many people suspected some involvement of General Mercy, then in charge of Aego-Cthulh diplomacy and a close ally of Ominous Stare. That is the most serious theory. Another one hints at involvement from a deviant offshoot of the Hunting Party. However, the Hunting Party itself had somehow accepted the domination of Ominous Stare on Aego politics, in the end. They had lost their edge and they had lost their rage. The leadership of the faction, infiltrated as it must have been by the Aego intelligence services, did certainly not order such an action.
There are other theories. The Figyar, the Belmacosa, even the Xanyr...
A minority of citizens believe that Ominous Stare joined the Dust of her own accord, due to her age. She was 143 years old at the time.

The Ecclesia called for the election of a new Lord Protector. There were some serious contenders for the position.
Most bets were on One With the Wheat, the well-known governor of Cold Mountain Sector, the most populated administrative district in Dust space, managing the destiny of 80 billion souls, including 15 billion Aegoi, 8 billion of those genetic deviants called the Aegoi Clarus and many more members of the servant species. He had the support of both Aego and alien loyalists. The Clarus Party was heeding his instructions; he had pulled all the necessary strings to avoid bloodshed when the Aego Clarus faction unveiled itself.
The opposing hardliner faction had lost its fire. Most citizens in this century knew of Mercy and his victorious squads of brave troopers only though history books. General Mercy himself, despite his record, had long been demoted to appease some Aego and alien opponents. Some elements of the ground forces were supporting the General Sent by Mercy, but that did not prove enough to score victory at the election.

A relatively minor personality was elected, much to the surprise of the political commentators. Previously governor of Takharam Prime, he had managed a successful campaign on a platform to put an end to overextension. In the last decades of the rulership of Ominous Stare, the Aegoi had overcome their reluctance to directly settle planets in Still Wind Country. They had used genetic manipulation, cunning and, yes, violence, to overwhelm the primitive races of the region. Since the Uva-Xavani had started to aggressively colonise planets in the region, Ominous Stare had chosen a "maximum space" policy that exhausted her political influence and sometimes angered her constituents, whose tax money was funding what seemed like an endless list of stations and outposts in deep space. Truth be told, Ominous Stare had long worked at restoring some kind of balance, sending colony ships left and right to settle habitable worlds at the edges of Dust Space. She had redirected funding from her pet scientific programmes and put in place the four Sectors to help her rule the colonies.
The governor of Takharam Prime was the only one to rally citizens around directive unity, glorious tradition and the end of overextension. Ominous Stare had grown to adulthood at a time when the wounds of the Aego civil wars were still fresh, and had united the nation behind her with frantic scientific investments and a laissez-aller attitude towards dissent, while being extremely cautious in her dealings with alien species. A child of the space age, Three Faces was, like most Aegoi of the second century, convinced that the empire was badly managed. He assured the citizens of the core worlds he would restore Aego greatness both inside and outside of the Shadow of the Dust. He rallied the remaining Hunters by supporting their core propositions about the supremacy of the Aego race. Two days before the vote, his star had risen so much that two out of ten candidates had rallied to him. The Aego voting system, better known as the Flux, is liquid enough that victory was not yet certain. His last speech, however, managed to rally many undecided citizens. Three Faces said that Unith Prime, despite its strategic location, should never have been colonised in the first place. Only small patches of territory were suitable for Aego life, and Dust could not be manufactured there. Three Faces promised that he would transform the place into a paradise or find a new, better home to live to all Aegoi colonists. He promised everybody a land to live.
The True History of the Aego people, Indigo Zek of the Plateau of Nur
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For years, the Aego navy trained against the powerful but tactically weak things known as crystalline entities.


Ambassadorship does not entail any duty. If you want to interact, you can roleplay and pretend to play the ambassador from the Yapathi Imperium, or I can use her to answer your questions cf a few posts above. The Yapathi are, along with the Dyss, the most powerful nation known to the Aegoi. They look like humans.

I have yet to make synths so no rebellious robots for the time being, but this galaxy has obviously had problems with rogue AI in the past. I admit it would be fun to get rid of the Figyar Guardians and
then have to deal with this endgame crisis.