Author: Lowell Boston PM
An introduction to the Starshield universe created by Tracy Hickman and Margaret WeisRated: Fiction K - English - Adventure - Words: 1,570 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 02-06-01 - Published: 01-04-01 - id: 164404
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Sentient Enlightenment - an introduction to the Starshield Universe.
"To understand the Void is to experience absolute Non-existence.
must first confront the Void before they can ever understand the Greater Galaxy."
- From the writings of Atis Librae Golis Mv' Enik
Librae Primula, Mnemen IV
Omnet Galactipaedia Entry: Greater Galaxy - Overview. Translation: Archaic
Know this, Sentient, from this moment on your view of the universe, through that most gossamer of veils we call perception, will be forever changed. The galaxy spinning in and around you is not a vast open expanse of deep space - a black velvet canvas of glittering stars and prismatic nebulas, but a patchwork quilt of zones. Many call these zones Bubbles of Reality; others - Quantum Zones, but the most popular vernacular is Q-dex, derived from the Flynch-Halpert Quantum Index. In essence, the galaxy is made up of alternative realities in the shifting confines of countless Quantum Zones.
The Principles of Existence that governor the reality of each Q-dex is different. Science and its empirical values of physics may not be enough to explain these forces in some Zones. Mystical forces - magic in layman's terms, and all its many varieties, may form the essence of a Q-dex where science and technology may not work. Gods may walk in one Q-dex, while the light speed barrier may not be broken in others. This is the nature of existence throughout the galactic disk. Ones comprehension of what constitutes 'reality' must be malleable. Life on either side of a Quantum Zone can be as different as night and day, magic and science, atomic and particle, elemental and psionic - leave nothing to assumption. Light, gravity, air, matter may exist in one zone, but not in another. This is your first step in understanding the Greater Galaxy; in achieving Sentient Enlightenment.
Some Q-dexes have yet to be pierced or comprehended even by the most ancient of TFPs - Temporal Fold Processors, or the mighty resources of a Major Empire. We, of the Omnet, call theses Q-dexes, Aberrant Zones. Well should you avoid them, and few are the number who have dared to cross them and survived.
The size of a Q-dex may encompass one to ten star systems. This is common. While others, designated as Mega-zones, may inhabit ten to thirty thousand star systems alone. Each Q-dex is made up of its inner core reality and an outer Quantum Front. This is the border between surrounding realities. Where two realities touch/collide a state of friction exist, a realm of nil called the Void. Crossing the Void is to risk sure destruction for any slow going vessel. Spend enough time within a Quantum Front and even the most formidable Omnet Dreadnought will be reduced to subatomic splinters. Momentum is the key and initiation into the Greater Galaxy is accomplished by those Empires who develop the means to cross their own Quantum Fronts and survive into the neighboring.
Quantum Fronts are not stationary nor stable. In fact they move; many shifting in directions opposite to those of the stars and planets. Over the course of time, perhaps a thousand years, an entire Quantum Zone may shift to another star system, and even in rarest cases bisecting them. These shifts can be predicted and monitored. This is one of the mission purposes of the Omnet - to monitor and understand the Quantum pattern of the Galaxy. Harder to predict is the occurrence of a Quantum Storm - chaotic breakdowns of reality within a Q-dex. The effects of a Quantum Storm can be many. Mild Storms may cause inconvenient disruptions of an Empire's daily activity with little long term damage.
Major storms may sweep over a
civilization permanently changing their state of reality. High tech machinery
may cease to function. Magic may be the new state of being.
The Omnet keeps an ever vigilant eye out for the occurrence of Quantum Storms, but their developments are virtually unpredictable.
Empires - Teeming throngs of civilization exist throughout the Greater Galaxy. The Omnet has classified them into three hierarchical categories:
Lesser Empire - Most civilizations who have yet to develop FTL - Faster Than Light means of stellar transportation and are unaware of the true nature of the Galaxy. Some of theses nation states (most especially those with FTL technology) are aware of what lies beyond the Void - the roiling loam of Non- existence between two Q-dexes, but have no interest in the realms beyond theirs for xenophobic or isolationist reasons. Omnet has issued a directive of non-interference towards most Lesser Empires.
Minor Empires - The dominate cradle of sentient civilization. Minor Empires are those who have mastered the means of interstellar travel through their own Q-dex and survival in the surrounding others. The status of Minor Empire is granted by the Omnet followed by the offering of a seat in the Agora - the Lower House of the Galactic Union. Many Minor Empires are those civilization who have settled the entire expanse of their Q-dex and are ready to explore, trade and expanded out into the Greater Galaxy. There are literally thousands of Minor Empires throughout the galactic disk. Some are conquered by others, or absorbed by the Majors, some have been wiped out by Quantum Storms or have fall back into Lesser Empire status and perpetual isolationism. Many still continue to live, thrive, and grow stronger, but with every breath you take it is almost assured that a Minor Empire has risen to glory, or has falling back into barbarism.
Many of their names are legendary: New Asgard, The Spider Queen Theocracy, The Selesthian Empire, The Andorian Dynasty, The Saurian Defense Pact, The Penumbra Expanse, The Mobil Empire of Mor-Kreln, and the Kwashime Accumulation to name a few. Your encounters with most star-faring civilizations will be of Minor Empire status.
Major Empires - There are seven states of super power that exist throughout the Greater Galaxy. These are the Major Empires whose borders inhabit vast Mega-zones and hold sway and control over billions of sentients, and millions of stars. They are: The Pluzhiak Imperium (Imperium), Ruqua Dynasties (Ruquanai), The Federated Stellar States (FSS), The Fartrade Coalition, The K'tan Empire, The Lights of Ja'lel, and the Union of Stars. The power and wealth of each Empire is immense. Their influence is nearly in all things across the galactic disk. All Minor Empires fear and respect the Majors.
(See: Omnet Galactipaedia Entry: Major Empires - Overview)
Know then that your studies will continue on from this point to include the rise and fall of Kendis-dai, the Shattering of the Suns era, and the discovery of the sentient computers know as the Nine Oracles. You will study the intricacies of Leveling - the adjustment of biological, magical and technological properties crossing from one Q-dex to the next, the production and technical workings of Synths and their immunity to the effects of Leveling. Know that the Synths use their TFPs to send queries back in time, allowing them to arrive at complicated solutions, yet giving the illusion of immediate answers.
No overview of the Greater Galaxy can be complete without a study of the Omnet, and the formation of the IGNM - InterGalactic News Matrix. But these are but cogs and gears in the machinery of life, dry history and knowledge devoid of an intimate understanding of the forces at work. You are reading this because your own empire is on the verge of acceptance as a Minor Empire by the Omnet. Sublime must be your anticipation at your culture's acceptance into the galactic fold, and suppressed your deepest fears ...as well they should be. What will you face in the unknown realms beyond your Quantum barrier? What knowledge will help you survive?
The following is a case study on the introduction and rise to power of the August Empire of Archaen. Know then that the Archaen Empire is located in Sector H, the only galactic sector devoid of a Mega-zone, and any Major Empire presence. Know then that at this time (GST 3397) that the Archaens have been offered a membership in the powerful AiD Pact (Alliance in Defense) composed of the Rhuk-D'kai Dynasty (RDD), the Parr and New Asgard to help in their war against the Ghoiite Literalist of the RDD and their charismatic leader, Sildrake the Mad.
Know then of the other forces a play in these events: The Golems of the FarReach Coalition, and their mysterious Alliance Guide agents. The Kalikari Dominion and their shadowly link to the UAC (United Anarchist Collective). The CDW (Confederation of Democratic Worlds), and their civil war against their Robotic rulers of the FDW (Federation of Democratic Worlds) and their struggle for independent Omnet recognition. Track the interplay of alliance and deceptions, assassinations and betrayals.
The following are the journals and Holo-plays chronicling these events. Gain knowledge and experience form these exploration as you absorb the cut and thrust of Empire interaction. Miss nothing, Sentient, allow what you will learn here today to crystallize ...and Sentient Enlightenment will be yours.