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The Stories of Quinas

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       Quinas looks like a cross between a Spanish woman and a Gypsy. With slitght hints of Moorish in the face. Although it is hard to tell because of the tattoos, she is becoming quite tanned from all the recent sun (Think Esmerelda from Hunchback). Her hair is a darkish red with a metallic luster. Her eyes change color depending on what angle you look at them (maroon to purple to navy).

Ari (eldest daughter)

Age: ~1150
Height: 5'11"
Hair: Naturally Red (like mom). She can vary her hair length and color at will. She usually wears it long (bellow butt) and loose with elflocks; or short, above shoulder, tapering to longer cut in the front (like Miyang or Motoko)
Eyes: Green
Build: Significantly more muscular than Quin. (Think Bass Female Taiko Drummer) Smaller bust than Quin (B)
Face: Slightly rounder than Quin…but still longer than cendalire usually draws. (sorry ^_^)
Complexion: Olive-Gold (Can vary her tan at will, like her hair)
Tattoos: Mark of the Firebird (bottom of back just above asscrack), Lightning bolts down her thighs, Ivy vines along her shoulders and the top of her back weaving down along her spine to become the backdrop of the Mark then mixing with the lightning on her hips and ass.
Skills: Singing, dancing, swordplay, choreography, comedy, psychology

Wiki bio:
       Grew up on The Ship (TBN) in the gypsy troupe. For many years was the cute widdle girl that sold flowers and trinkets. She started performing with her mother at an early age (<50), after only a few centuries exceeded her mother in all aspects of performance: dancing, stage presence, singing, comedy, and popularity). In fact, Ari has gained a "small" following of ~1 mil fans and arts connoisseurs throughout the sector. She has never accepted an interview invitation because that could compromise her friends' and family's safety. She is now the lead performer in the troupe and also performs with other groups about once a season. About 200 yeas ago, she left on a 50-year trip to travel the galaxy, witness new arts and techniques, and train and hone her skills. Parts of the trip she spent with her mother, father, and/or grandmother (off and on through 50 years). When she returned, her combat ability had increased several fold, as witnessed in the chapter in Quin's Story.
       Most of Ari's psionic powers are passive. Such as her super-strength, speed, and regeneration. The only active power she has (I think) is her inherited telepathy (rank 2). She is very much a momma's girl. After all, she didn't meet her father until she was over 400. She is usually cheerful, although has bouts of anger, depression, angst, etc. like everyone else but she never lets her mood ruin a performance. Quinas knows Ari is hiding things from her, but respects her daughter's privacy. Ari had promised she would never hurt her mother like her brother did. Since Ari is nearly as old as Quinas, she has been more like a sister than a daughter since Bren was born, having helped raise both her siblings. Also her appearance is very close to Quin's. If it wasn't for the tattoos and brands, they could almost pass for each other. Her element is fire, but she also has strong affinity to air, specifically lighting. Thus, her Mark of the Firebird tattoo is clutching lighting bolts in its talons. All her tattoos (except the Mark of the Firebird, she can change or remove at will. Note: Still requires a Craft (body art) check to make it look good. The ones listed above are just her usual favorites.

Jean (Note I have done less work on her, partly because she is still
        just a kid and thus not as important than her siblings…or IS she?)

Age: ~150
Height: 5'6" (not fully grown)
Hair: 3" Mohawk with green and blond radiating stripes (Naturally
Burnett) Green Eyebrows (sometimes one is blond)
Eyes: Left eye = Blue, right = Red
Build: Skinny, lanky. Bust about the same as Quin (C)
Face: Chiseled, almost malnourished looking
Complexion: Lightly tanned (like a white girl living in California)
Tattoos: Mark of the Firebird on the cheek, I think. Some Celtic knotwork around her arms, covers her left shoulder down to the elbow plus around the wrist. Right side is similar, but only around the forearm and wrist. Celtic knotwork around her left eye connecting to her ear and down the neck to her shoulder. She has more, but most are hidden under clothing and/or not important.

Wiki Bio:
       Jean was born after Bren left and Ari returned from her trip. She was still an infant or toddler when Bren's tattoo burned off. (Need to double check those dates again just to be sure) It was probably a pretty traumatic experience for a child to have one's mother suddenly burst into flames. She has a pretty normal relationship with her parents, she is in that kind of "rebellious teen" phase and gets annoyed easily. Takes after her father in looks and abilities more than her mother. She is emotionally closer to her elder sister than anyone else right now and has received a lot of instruction from her. Somehow, thinks earth is boring (must not be hanging around with the right crowd). No real ambitions or goals. What can I say, imagine your standard rebellious punk teenager…with a mind blade…and telepathy.

Gus and Bren to be added later. Have to go to choir first.
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          Four weeks, how could four weeks seem so long? I have lived for nearly fourteen centuries, yet when I look back, these last four weeks seem like an eternity in compared to the rest. Everything happened so fast. Even though I barely knew her, I shared more with her than anyone else in my life. More than my children, more than Gustav. No one had ever invited me into their mind before. Over a thousand years ago, I made a vow to never dive into the mind of one I trusted. Afer all, how could I claim to trust someone after raiding their thoughts, their memories, their secrets. But Karen invited me in. For the first time ever, someone trusted me enough to open their mind. Now she is gone, I know consciously she is dead. But I can still feel her in my mind. Her memories are still fresh. Her mark still burns hot on my back, even though the being that now inhabits her body is now far away. I has taken much of my strength and will to keep that link as closed as possible. Yet the link is still there, cinched but not cut. Where I once felt the joyful, calming presence of my friend, I now feel malice and contempt. A deeper evil than I can even fathom right now. I wish I could break that link, but nothing short of the death of me or the demon could entirely sever the thread between our psyches. Perhaps I could sever the link without any death, but perhaps I am refusing to because somewhere in my mind, I believe that Karen is still alive, hiding inside the demon’s soul. Eaten, but not destroyed. If I sever the link, I may loose my only chance to save her from that damnation.
          I was told that her soul is gone, devoured by the very demon she harbored. I have never been very religious, yet there has always been a deeply spiritual side of me. The spiritual concept of a soul. One theory is that our soul is nothing more than the sum of our memories. Another, and prevailing theory is that our soul is our external mind, located on some other plane of existence. Tenka told me that the earth concept of a soul is actually one’s astral body. If my external mind is, or is part of my astral body, as Tenka calls it, then does that mean that the millions of telepaths throughout history have, without their knowledge, been talking through their souls? This is all quite a daunting bit of philosophy which I do not wish to delve into more just yet.
          I saved Karen’s memories, as much as I could. When I took those memories out of her, in order to save them from the demon, maybe I took some of her soul with them. I know, consciously, that these memories are not my own. But they are real. I remember years of happy marriage to Tsuzaki, yet I know that I have never been married. Gustav is the only man I love and he is alive and well. But I long for my dead husband. I remember killing my sister, yet I have no siblings. I wonder whether there will be a time that I can no longer keep our memories separate and our psyches, maybe even our souls, will truly become one. It is hard to say I miss Karen when she lives on inside me. But I do miss her along with my dead family I never had.
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          For the past ten millennia, known space has consisted of only two major factions: the Empire and the Alliance. Each with very different cultures, and likewise, very different militaries.
          The empire has two sources of its military might, the Imperial Navy and the militia–the various independent militaries of the Empire’s member states.
Most individual citizens in the Empire owe allegiance to their respective nations, which in turn owe allegiance to the Empress. The exception to this are what are officially termed Citizens of the Empire, sometimes called Free Citizens. These citizens are part of no nation except the Empire as a whole. A free citizen can either be born one, or renounce all former allegiances and swear an oath to the Empress. The children of two Free Citizens are automatically Free Citizens themself. Those born in the Imperial Province, but not of two Free Citizens, may take the oath of citizenship at the age of 150 and become a Citizen of the Empire.
          The core Imperial military consists entirely of Free Citizens. Most officers are either from the Imperial Province, or members of noble families who personally swore allegiance to the Empress. For example Gustav, the son of the late rulers of a small world near the Empire-Alliance border, renounced his former citizenship and swore an oath to the Empress in person, became a Citizen of the Empire during his tour of duty, and entered the Imperial Academy. Enlisted personnel come almost entirely from the Imperial Province.
          While the Imperial Navy is the largest single military force in known space, it is still quite small compared to the combined strength of all independent militaries in the Empire. Every nation in the Empire has, to some extent, its own military. These militaries range in size from Trafalgre’s single squad of commandos, to a the 36 ship strong standing navy of Caldûn. Command of these forces is solely under the jurisdiction their own nation’s government. However in times of interstellar crisis, like during the millennial wars, the Empress can seize control of all forces within the Empire.
          The Alliance is a very different place. There is no central government or command structure. The combined strength of all the Tribes is nearly twice that of the Empire, however, because of this lack of cohesion, each species-sometimes each planet-has it’s own independent military. On rare occasions, a strong leader will arise who will unite the tribes and form a cohesive force to take on the Empire, this is what started the millennial wars with the appearance of general Lupe Shadzic. Indeed, the Empire may have been wiped out had Shadzic not been slain by the Empress in that famous dual on Rigel 3.
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All information in this document is taken from the 816th galactic census taken in the 96th century of the reign of Empress Jezrâil (Tiana’shal)
Name: Caldûn (4th planet of 7)
Location: Calimsha system, sector 3-4-6, anti-Spinward Quadrant, 50 parsecs from the Imperial Border
Mass: 1.08
Orbital Radius: 0.95 AU
Sidereal Year: 216 days (local), 0.966
Composition: Silicon-Oxygen-Hydrogen Crust and Mantel/ Nickel-Iron Core, Large deposits of: Uranium, Tungsten, Platinum, and Unubtainium?
Radius: 6394.2 km
Axial Tilt: 0.5445 radians
Orbital Eccentricity: 0.012
Surface Composition: 81% oceans/lakes, 11% farmland, 6% wild/preserve, 2% urban
Capital: Serifosa
Other Major Cities: Able, Asgro, Gilgam, Grolsna, Omblan, Realto, Terrifon
Major Exports: Force Screens, Fruit, Heavy Metals, Laser Weapons, Masonry, NPTD Drives, Warp and Sub-Light Drives, Warships
Government: Communist caste based society ruled by a hereditary dictatorship.
Population: approximately 10 000 000 000 (98% Claimshite(native), 1% High Imperial, 1% Other)
Military: Standing Navy, 36 warships (2 carrier groups each with 1 carrier capable of holding a wing of aerospace fighters and a division of marines, 2 long range dreadnoughts, 2 strike cruisers, 3 torpedo ships, 5 point defense/shield ships, 5 laser destroyers) Reserve Navy (unknown), Standing Army ~1,000,000 marine officers fully equipped
Politics: Caldûn is currently part of the war party and its representative is chair of the senate arms appropriation committee and one member of the Imperial cabinet is from Caldûn’s royal family.
Famous Sights: West Continent: Glass Bottomed Lake, Red Forest, Volcanic Gardens; East Continent: Cloud-top Shopping District , Crystal City, Hanging Forest, PsiCal Academy, Razhan’s Tower; Serifosa: Akiran Disaster Memorial, Needle of Heaven, Royal Villa, University of Caldûn; Other: Orbital Yards, Blue City, Floating Gardens.
Architecture: Multi story clustered buildings using large amounts of metals and plastic. Masonry and duracrete popular materials for smaller buildings. Caldûn Marble, Gneiss, and Jade are famous throughout the empire. Most lower caste spaces are spartan and functional while the upper classes enjoy wide varieties of ornamentation.
Native Population: Most Calimshites are tall, even by Imperial standards, they also tend to have a stronger build than most other populations. Psychic Opperancy is low among the upper castes, unknown among the lower castes. Calimshites naturally mature faster than most Imperials, reaching puberty by the age of 50 and full adulthood by age 150. The worker caste’s growth is artificially accelerated forcing them to full adulthood in only 50 years. Mean Height: 2.04m (M) 1.98m (F); weight: 92kg (M) 82 kg (F); Skin tones: light to dark olive; The large percentage of workers on Caldûn skews this statistic upward, workers tending to be taller and heavier than all other castes.
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This is a compilation of my brainstorming when I was out of town last summer about a major religion in the Empire.

          The Empire is a collection of hundreds, even thousands of separate nations. Likewise there are thousands of different religions within it. The Empire has no official religions, although there are several very large and influential sects.
          One of the largest sects is known commonly known as the Imperial Cult. It has evolved from a small old religion native to Tiana’shal’s homeworld of Pashim IV. The catechisms of the Imperial Cult are mostly the same as is originator, the Toric religion. For example, they both share the same creation myth, described below.

Toric Creation of the Universe
          The universe was created by the being known as Tor. Tor was sexless and ageless, both everywhere and nowhere, infinitely large and infinitely small. At the moment time began, Tor split into two beings, one male, Torin, and one female, Tora. Such great energies were released in the splitting that the universe was created. Mater and energy were created and the universe began to expand. At first, all things were part of both gods. However, this was a stagnant existence. The gods wished for change, for variety. In order to achieve this, they split the universe into pairs of opposites, positive and negative, light and darkness, spin up and spin down, male and female, matter and anti-matter, yin and yang, energy and dark energy. Each god looks over their half of existence, imprinting their essence onto everything. Unfortunately, this separation of the universe meant that the god and goddess must also part from each other. Even still, each longs for their lover, meeting briefly whenever two halves of the universe they created combine. This union can cause great destruction as when mater and anti mater collide, but it can also spawn creation as seen in sexual reproduction.
After many years, the goddess Tora wished to create stars to bring light to the universe, and planets for her children to walk upon. So the two divided up the universe once again. Tora possessing the stars and planets, and Torin possessing the darkness between them. Thus the first systems were born.

          The Imperial Cult follows most of the old Toric ways except for one important difference. They believe that the Empress is the avatar of Tora, or perhaps even the mortal incarnation of the goddess herself. The Priest Shalamay founded the Imperial Cult in the second century with this prophecy he had written down a millennium earlier.

The mother wished for a true daughter,
But a daughter would mean the end of her children.
Millennia she searched, until a home was found
A white star, the fourth orbit’s around
In a land so nearing destruction
She became her child’s own daughter

She will learn the secret of flight
She will fight and unite
All the stars that were once her enemy
Will soon become her sectary
Her greatest enemy in this mortal body
The living blood of her lover will be
The two will unite, and grief will it make,
Spread destruction and life in their wake.

          This prophecy was witnessed by Shalamay and a number of other scholars eight hundred years before the Empire’s foundation on planet Caldûn in the Calimsha system. Which, at the time, was the seat of the largest nation in the galaxy. It wasn’t until a millennium later, not long after the Calimsha Kingdom was conquered by the Empress, that Shalamay realized that the empress Tiana’shal fit the prophecy. [more to be added later about Shalamay]
The empress has never officially confirmed or denied the prophecy. She is still a follower of the old Toric ways but occasionally makes appearances at festivals of the Imperial Cult.

          There are some polytheistic religions in the empire which bare a striking resemblance to each other. Perhaps they are all remnants of the same ancient religion from the time before the great wars.
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Psionics in the Empire

Imperials live a very long time (2000+ years). In order to survive such long lives they have developed a very large mental capacity. Physically, their brains can’t hold enough memories to last more than a century. To counter this, each imperial’s brain can access an "external" memory unique to each individual. The exact nature of this eternal memory bank is unknown, however since the discovery of hyperspace, it has been determined that each individual’s memory bank is actually located in its own separate dimension somewhere between normal space and hyperspace. There are an infinite number of possible dimensions and no two individuals share the same external memory location. All phenomena referred to as psionics involves manipulation of this trans-dimensional brain.

Every imperial has at least some rudimentary telepathic abilities in order to access their memory.1 Some have greater skill than others. All telepathic abilities (mindspeak, mind control, possession, etc.) are channeled through a person’s trans-dimensional mind. This is the reason telepathic communication is instantaneous, signals are not transmitted through actual space but through another dimension. Often certain people are more susceptible each other’s telepathic abilities than normal. This is because their external minds are very close to each other and thus require a smaller dimensional leap to connect.

Most imperials have very limited telepathic ability. They live out their lives as many other species do, without telepathic contact to anyone except their own memories. These are the average latent citizens, only able to mindspeak with the help of a more powerful telepath. If a person develops the ability to reach beyond their own external mind, they are referred to as an operant. About 2.4% of the empire is at least partially operant, able to communicate with family members and close friends, those with minds on the same quantum or with strong, established links. About 0.0001% of the populace are fully operant, able to communicate with any other telepath, whether operant or latent.

It is theorized the an individual’s psionic capacity is related to how close their trans-dimensional mind is to hyperspace. Latents’ minds are very close to normal space because they don’t have the strength or ability to bridge the gap to higher quanta. Operants are able to reach higher dimensional quanta, allowing them the greater flexibility and power available as one approaches hyperspace. As an operant develops in mental power, their mind may shift closer to hyperspace. This is all conjecture, as there is no way yet to test these theories. The field of trans-dimensional physics has not progressed far enough to predict what would happen if someone’s mind reaches hyperspace, neither do we know what exists at higher quanta than hyperspace. Most TD physicists believe that hyperspace is the highest dimensional quantum available.

Very few imperials (less than 0.1% of the fully operant) possess the ability to psycho-kinetically manipulate mater on the material plane.2 These are referred to as Psychokinetics or PKs. PK abilities range from simple telekinesis, to force screens and teleportation. Most techniques are self taught, however, some can be learned. One such learned technique, the Trakem Ror, enhances the Imperials’ natural cellular regeneration enough to heal injuries in a matter of hours instead of weeks.

1There are a few individuals born with defects preventing telecommunication, they are either coached along into operancy by skilled psydocs or die before reaching two centuries age.

2The Dimensional Quantum Theory of Psionics states that operant PKs’ abilities stem through the manipulation of hyperspace which would explain why PK abilities function similar to technologies developed as a result of the discovery of hyperspace.

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In the vast reaches of the void, at the edge of a small nebula. There existed eleven beings. These eleven beings wished for a new home. So they gathered together all the gas and dust they could reach and compressed it with their hands, creating the star Calimsha. Then each decided to create their own planet to inhabit. They set out into the void once again, this time to find rocks, metals, gasses, and liquids to create their homes. After scouring the nearby space they each returned with enough to mace their own planet. This was the beginning of the first age of the gods, when the solar system was whole and each god lived solitarily on their own planet.

The gods lived like this for many revolutions of their planets. But soon they became lonely and wished for companions. The two gods of the inner most planets began to visit each other jumping to and from their homes to spend time with each other. The gods of the next two planets began meet with each other as well. Soon the entire system, save for one god, had paired up with one another. The final god, who had the smallest farthest planet and no room for visitors looked at the other gods with envy.

"I shall change my course and wander throughout the system, meeting each god twice in turn and then travel outward in a long exile before returning again." The other gods barely heard the voice from the outer planet, they were to excited with their friends to notice. For 35 rotations of the outer planet, the lone god observed the ten others silently. They started out elated, traveling across the void to their neighbor’s planet only to return later. Overtime, however, they became tired of the long trip and the time they had to spend alone on their own planet.

On the 36th inward swing of his planet, the lone god told the gods of the tenth and ninth planets. "Why don’t you pick one of your two homes and both stay their?"

"But there is not enough room for both of us to stay." They replied.

"I will help you." Said the lone god. "Make string from your hair. Make it long enough to stretch between your homes." They did as the lone god told. Weaving a braid from the hairs which had fallen to the floor and reinforcing the rope with a fresh strand from each of their heads.

"Now, god of the ninth planet, return to your home with one end of the rope and secure it to the ground. Do the same, god of the tenth planet. When both ends are secure, you must pull with all your strength until your two homes become one." said the lone god. They did as instructed. The god of the ninth planet returned home and attached the hair to the ground. The god of the tenth planet did the same. Then they pulled. Not since the creation of Calimsha had they exerted such effort. They kept pulling until their two planets collided and became one. The lone god continued on his journey inward and convinced the other gods to do the same. By the time the lone god had swung past the sun, there was now only six planets in the system.

The inner five each housed two gods who had brought their worlds together with a rope of their own hair. The first was the smallest, except for he lone god’s home. It contained the most minerals of all the planets in the system. The two residing gods became the richest of the eleven, their home decorated lavishly with crystals the size of mountains and platinum thrones for each to sit. The second planet was the harshest, intense heat at day and freezing cold at night and a mountain so high, one could reach out into space from its summit. This forced the two gods to be adaptable to any climate, even in the depths of space. The third planet had little of value and the gods living there became jealous of the others’ possessions. They were forced to barter with the others for necessities and became very shrewd in the ways of trade. The fourth planet from Calimsha had one side always in the light and the other always shrouded in darkness. When the gods there wished for warmth and light, they would stay on the lit side. When they wished for the cool serenity of darkness, they would stay on the dark side and stare off into space or at the fifth planet, which they visited often. The fifth planet was the largest, it’s gravity many times that of the others. The two gods who lived there became very strong, towering over the other nine gods. They were the only gods strong enough to carry the stones to build the various palaces of the gods. All this hard work left them little time to organize and design their own home. Not wanting the gods of the ninth and tenth planets to live without a home, the gods of the seventh and eight planets helped design and organize the construction of the god’s palace on the fifth planet. The sixth planet was the farthest, much smaller than the rest and nearly barren save for a small shack, home to the lone god who once again silently watched the ten other gods during the short time each cycle his planet was close to Calimsha.

On the 1295th revolution the lone god noticed that each pairs of gods was trying to create other living beings on their world. The gods of the ninth and tenth planets were creating microorganisms. The gods of the seventh and eighth planets created plants. The gods of the fifth and sixth planets created creatures to crawl through the rock, below the surface. The gods of the third and fourth planets created animals to run along the ground. The gods of the first and second planets crated creatures to fly through the sky.

On the trip outward, the lone god noticed that the other living things couldn’t prosper. The creatures on the inner three planets had nothing to eat and starved. The plants on the fourth planet had nothing to decompose them, and soon choked in their own bogs. The microorganisms over multiplied without food, and died out. During the long exodus in the outer system, the lone god contemplated the other gods’ creations. As the planet neared the inner system on the 1296th orbit, the god came to the epiphany that what the creatures needed was a planet for all of them to live on. Each in harmony with the other creations. This was proposed to the ten other gods who all agreed to travel out one last time into the far reaches of the void. This time they would create a new planet, richer and more beautiful than all the others. This planet would be home to all eleven gods as well as their creations.

The gods of the first and second planets brought back all the beautiful minerals they could find: gems, gold, platinum, and silver. The gods of the third and fourth planets brought back all the hardest, heaviest, and strongest materials: iron, tungsten, nickel, titanium, lead, and corundum. The gods of the fifth and sixth planets gathered all the gasses and liquids: water, air, and oil. The gods of the seventh and eight planets traveled far and wide searching for the best materials of their world. They gathered all the compounds essential for their creations to live: carbon, phosphorus, and salts. The gods of the ninth and tenth planets gathered all the rocks of which the planet would mostly consist of. They, once again, did the majority of the work, able to carry many time that of the other gods. The lone god traveled farther than all others, past the farthest reaches of the void. Farther than the could be seen from Calimsha. The god returned with the rarest of materials, materials all the other gods thought useless.

When all the gods had returned, they put together all they had found in the space between the third and fourth planet and created a new world which they called Caldûn. This planet was large enough, rich enough, and fertile enough to be the home of the gods as well as all their creations. Each pair of gods created a continent and the lone god created the oceans in-between. Then they took their creations from their former homes and brought them to their new home on Caldûn. The lone god taught all the living things how to live together: on, below, and above the surface.

For a wile the gods lived like this, lording over their own creations from their palaces through out the system and on Caldûn. However the gods had reached the end of their power. All their creations were capable of producing offspring, something the gods longed for themselves. Each of the pairs tried and tried for many rotations of their new world but were unsuccessful. One day, the gods of the seventh and eight planet were conversing with the lone god about their creations. How are they different than the gods? Why can they achieve something their very creators are incapable of? The lone god did not know the answer but called all the other gods together in council to discuss this.

All ten of the gods from the inner planets agreed that they wished for offspring and would even give up all their possessions and palaces to do so. The lone god said nothing while the other gods talked back and fourth on the issue. The world rotated 36 times while the ten gods discussed, argued, and postulated on how they could achieve what they wished for before the lone god spoke.

"Are you willing to give up you right as god?" asked the lone god of the others.

"Why would we give up our rights as gods? Asked the gods of the seventh and eight planets.

"We are immortal, gods who created this system and all that it contains. Our living creations are mortal, they are young, grow old, and die while we stay the same for eternity. Because we cannot change, because we cannot die, we cannot have the children we desire." Said the lone god.

For thirty six months of thirty six days, the ten gods contemplated the lone one’s words. At the end of the last day of the thirty sixth month, all the gods agreed to give up their immortality and become mortal. While they knew they would some day die, their children will continue to rule over the other creatures of Caldûn as descendants of those who were once gods.

The gods of the ninth and tenth planets, being the strongest, became the first man and the first woman of the Zarathii. They and their descendants would be the laborers, builders, and farmers. The gods of the seventh and eight planets were the most curious and organized. They became the first of the Reltorii. Their descendants would be all the scientists and organize the work of the Zarathii. The gods of the fifth and sixth planet, shrewdest of the eleven, became the first of the Sharbanii, whose descendants would trade, barter, and manage the world’s goods. The most aggressive and hardy of the gods, those from the third and fourth planets became the first Farisahii. They and their children would protect all the other castes from harm. The gods of the first and second planet, the richest of the eleven, would become the first Thogrhii. They and their descendants would rule over all the other castes of Caldûn.

Finally, the lone god who had no companion proclaimed that it would be celibate. It would watch and observe all the other castes, give advice in times of need, and teach all the others’ children of the past. This was the first of the Gobrinii. The cast that is not a caste. These priests will have no children, but come only from those in the other castes who wish to learn about the past, observe the present, and teach for the future. Those who can find no home in any of the five castes will find a place among the Gobrini.

Thus the five Castes of Caldûn and the order of Gobrinii were created.


Caste Namesi

Zarath = worker

Reltor = administrator/scientist (The Reltorii is the cast of scientists and administrators although there are separate words used to distinguish the two professions. "Reltorath" is the word used for what we would consider an administrator and "Reltorach" is used for scientists and researchers.)

Sharban = merchant

Farisah = warrior

Thogrh = noble

Gobrin = priest

The Calimsha System

The current Calimsha System has seven planets. Caldûn is the fourth from the star and the only planet with native life forms. The descriptions contained in the story of the other six planets fairly accurately describes them. Each planet is named following the convention Dhal[Caste Name, plural possessive] with the caste name corresponding to the caste descended from the gods who resided on that planet in mythology. The Dhal prefix is an ancient Caldûn word, only still used in this context. It is the ancient root from which the modern Caldûni words for hearth, origin, home, and womb all come from. The first planet, Dhalthogrin, contains many fabulous mineral deposits. While many of the precious metals have been mined out over time, there are still gigantic caverns of crystal which could have been the palace of the Thogrhi gods, although no "crystal thrones" have yet to be found. The Crystal Forest on Caldûn has the same mineral composition as these caverns and has been the center of worship for the Thogrhii. It is hypothesized that the Crystal Forest is the ancient home of the first nobles.

The second planet, Dhalfarisahin, is volcanically active and has no atmosphere. Temperatures range from 120 to 700 Kelvin. Dhalfarisahin is home to the systems largest mountain. A giant volcano near the equator near a hundred kilometers tall which could be the mountain referred to in the myth.

The third planet, Dhalsharbanin, is barren, it is completely geologically inactive and is covered in e thin layer of dust. All test and observations show that the planet is almost entirely SiO2. There are no mineral deposits worth mining as suggested in the myth. "The third planet had little of value…"

Dhalreltorin, the fifth planet, is indeed tidal locked, it contains large newly discovered deposits of Iron, Titanium, Tungsten, Unobtainium, and more far bellow the crust. The Caldûn Royal Laboratories are located on the dark side of Dhalreltorin. These laboratories and research facilities are where most of the construction and metallurgic innovations for the Empire have originated in the past millennium.

The sixth planet Dhalzarathin, is the systems only gas giant. It has a Nickel-Iron core about twice the size of Caldûn. It also has unusually high concentrations of deuterium and tritium in its predominantly hydrogen atmosphere. Such concentrations, however, should not be possible in nature due to beta decay. The cause of these high concentrations is unknown, but it enabled Caldûn to become the powerful nation it was before the empire because of deuterium’s and tritium’s use in fusion generators.

The seventh planet is a small icy and rocky world, about twice the size of Caldûn’s moon. It has a very unusual orbit, highly elliptical and inclined at almost a right angle to the ecliptic. It spends a short time in the inner system as it swings near Calimsha, getting even closer than Dhalthogrhin to the star, then travels out beyond Dhalzarathin. It’s year is 1296ii times as long as Caldûn’s.

The Gobrinii: The Priestly Order

The Gobrinii consists of members from all five castes who have voluntarily renounced all ties to their previous caste and taken a vow of chastity. The Gobrini are the kingdom’s historians. They record, without bias, all the events and chronicles of Caldûn and teach this history to their own initiates as well as the young of the other castes.

Traditionally, The Gobrinii is broken up into many Chapters, each of which has six Diocese, which are composed of six Missions, each with six Parishes consisting of six Gobrini. The six Gobrini in a Parish are representative of all five castes of Caldûn. One Zarath, one Reltor, one Sharban, one Farisah, one Thogrh, and one Danjioriii. This ratio of caste representation is kept strictly ridged. The Danjior is the leader of the parish. The Danjior of the first parish in a mission is the leader of that mission and the Danjior of the first parish of the first mission of a diocese is the head of a diocese, and so on all the way up to the Danjior of the first parish of the first mission of the first diocese of the first chapter, who is the leader of the entire order.

The vow of celibacy is taken very seriously. If any Gobrin has a child, the child as well as both parents are either executed or exiled/excommunicated.

i Add an "i" at the end of these nouns for the plural. Adding an "ii" refers to the whole caste. (e.g. Zarathi = workers, Zarathii = worker caste)

ii The numbers 6, 36(62), 216(63), and 1296(64) are important number for Caldûn, there are, 6 days per week, 6 days per month, 6 months a year, and 6 years in one crop cycle. Therefore there are 36 days per month, 216 per year, and 1296 per crop cycle. The recurrence of the number six and its powers in mythology as well as in celestial cycles is one of the largest pieces of evidence pointing to the validity of the Calimsha Creation Myth. Likewise it is no surprise that Caldûni used a base six number system.

iii The closest translation of the word Danjior is "bastard," and is often used as an insult to non-Danjior. Although confusingly, a true Danjior, as a member of and leader within the Gobrinii, is highly respected by all Calimshites. A Danjior is a child of parents from different castes. Since the Danjior can claim no caste as their own, their only home is in the Gobrinii. In the past few millennia, however, several Danjiori have been accepted into the castes of one of their parents, usually the caste of the mother. The exception to this are Danjorii of a Zarath and one of another caste. They are never accepted into any caste accept the Zarathii (or the Gobrinii of course).

* * *

            The first chord rang out and echoed off the arboretum’s domed ceiling. The guitar slowly picked up the volume and tempo and Quinas began to move. She wore a light sarong of red and navy fabric with gold tassels and trim. Bone and copper bracelets adorned her wrists and bells hung from leather straps attached to her ankles. To complete the display, her hair was brought up in a tight bun held together by two slim daggers. Altogether, her costume was cheap, yet effective.

            The few original onlookers watched with hushed intensity. Other park goers wandered by and joined the growing crowd around strange foreigners, forgetting what they were doing or where they were going. Soon, the only sounds in the whole arboretum were the strumming of the guitar, the jingling of Quin’s jewelry, and the thumping of her feet on the wooden patio.

            This particular dance was one of the first she had ever witnessed, growing up in the nursery on Caldun, although she had altered it in her own way quite a bit since then. It was a solo dance that depicts the journey Teriah, of one of the great Farisah maidens of legend. As the legend goes, Teriah, under orders of her king, traveled across the Desert of Blades to the Crystal Forest where she defeated the terrible usurper Faras and restored the true line of Thogrhi leaders. After completing her task, she set back out into the Desert of Blades and was never seen again.

            Comment As Quinas reached the part of the dance corresponding to the battle with Faras, her pace increased until it was over double the cadence of the beginning. Two bars before they reached the fastest tempo, she pulled out the daggers from the hair, which mysteriously lengthened into full length rapiers as they were drawn out. Her hair fell down past her butt as the music stopped. She stood perfectly still, posed in a guard stance.

            Then, as one, Quinas and the guitar continued the dance, just as fast as before. Her swords whirling around at lighting speed, cutting at an unseen enemy. Her hair trailing behind her as she dashed around the makeshift stage. Finally she leapt into the air, brining both swords down slaying the phantom usurper. The blades traveled over three centimeters into the hard wood of the stage from this final blow.

            The final section of the dance was slow and solemn; the heroin leaving for her exile in the sand. Quin loosened her sarong and unfurled it between the audience and herself. Then spun around, re-wrapping it, only this time covering her head. As the guitar played it’s last, sad notes she gracefully turned he back to the audience and collapsed to the floor, letting the cloth completely cover her, symbolizing Feriah being taken by the desert.

            Applause filled their corner of the park. Sweating and breathing heavily, Quinas gathered the sarong around her again as she stood up and turned back to the crowd. She grasped Kēluma’s hand and they both took a deep bow. Akilah and Ari, Quin’s daughter, were walking together through the crowd, selling little trinkets they had made.

             Quin raised her hand to forestall the applause. “Now, if you would be so kind, our friend Darik would like to entertain you with some feats of skill I am sure you will all enjoy.” She proclaimed to the crowd, stepping back and waving Abore to the stage. He drew the swords out of the wood and tossed them back to Quin and cleared his throat, then began to explain to the crowd the nature of his first act. Darik was his cover name. None of them, except Ari, could use their true names for fear they could be traced back to the events on Caldun, of which they were all fugitives from.

            She returned behind the screen, where they stored their props and instruments, to change. The sweat soaked sarong was draped over a nearby branch and she removed her jewelry, then paced around the staging area for a few minuets to cool down. She could hear the crowd outside oohing and ahhing to Abore’s juggling act. After fully cooling down, she sat down on the dry grass, then collapsed backwards, finally able to relax. Comment From this angle, she could see the planet below, around which this station orbited. Her time of tranquillity, however, was cut short by she voice of her daughter.

            “Mommy, Mommy!” said Ari, bouncing into view.

            “Hey sweetie.” said Quin. She propped herself up on one elbow and wrapped her other arm around her daughter, who curled up next to Quin and rested her head on her mother’s shoulder. “Shouldn’t you be still out there with aunt Akilah?”

            Comment “I, I was, but there were some weird men asking questions about us. You t-told me not to tell anyone about your past. B-but he kept asking. I didn’t know what to do, so I s-said I was hungry and left.” said the girl. Quin could feel her daughter starting to shake in her arms. Perhaps it was still too early to let Ari work the crowd with Akilah. She was barely ten years old after all, and had never spent more than a month at a time in the same system. A transient lifestyle like theirs can be very difficult to such an young and unweaned child.

            “Shhhh, Shhhh. Don’t you worry. Aunt Aki can handle them.” said Quinas reassuringly. “Are you hungry? It’ll be a while before my next dance.” Ari remained silent, but after a few seconds shook her head and tightened her grip around her mothers neck. “We can just stay like this for a few minutes if that’s alright with you.”

            A muffled “Uh Huh,” was the only response from the girl, her face buried in Quin’s collar. They stayed like that throughout all of Abore’s show. Her daughter fell asleep before the final applause, signaling the end of the act. Quin rose and gently set the sleeping child down on the large pillow that was her favorite place to sleep when not with her mother. She donned the tight fitting blue costume for her next dance. It was barely more than jewelry with a few bits of cloth thrown in as an afterthought, but that was what the show called for. Akilah had told her that it was very similar to the ordinary everyday Comment fashion of Shoegrad, the place where the dance originated, which is very hot and tropical year round.

            Abore returned behind the curtain along with Keluma. “Ready?” asked Abore. “Aki’s keeping the crowd busy while Kel n’ I change. Where’s Ari?” he asked while he changed into his own costume for their dance.

            “She’s sleeping on her favorite pillow. Say, Kel. Would you mind her sitting next to you for this number?” asked Quin. “I don’t want her going back into the crowd again today or left alone back here.”

            “It’s, it’s not her condition is it?” asked Keluma, with a sudden panic in her voice.

            “No...well...it might be partly. She was approached by some unusually inquisitive folk today and kinda panicked. I think it’d be best for her to just relax and enjoy the rest of her family’s show.” Quin picked up her daughter and stroked her short red hair. “Be strong, my angel. I promise we will be through this trial soon enough and you can have the normal life you so deserve.” she whispered in Ari’s ear then kissed her on the forehead and handed her to Keluma, who headed out ahead of Quin and Abore with the child to set up her instruments.

            Abore finished dressing and gathered their props. For Quin, a long wooden staff with a ribbon attached to one end, and for him, a similar staff but this with a spear point instead of a ribbon. His costume was even sparser than hers, it was nothing more than a loincloth, bracelets, and anklets. He handed her the staff and asked “People asking questions? Think it’s ‘bout time we jumped system?” he let out a short sigh. “Damn! I wish Sherden was here today. He’d know what to do.”

            Quin grasped the staff in both hands, with thumbs down. “Don’t worry, he’ll be back tomorrow. And for all we know they could just be curious fans.” said Quin. Keluma had already started the music, just a slow drumbeat to start. The two dancers lined stood at opposite ends of the screen, ready step out simultaneously on cue. This dance was a duet. A fairly romantic spin on the tale of Tora and Torin, the two principal gods of many religions in the empire. Although the dance was slow, it was very physically demanding. Requiring precise movements in seemingly impossible positions. At a few points, a single limb would be supporting the weight of both dancers. It was a style she had first learned fifteen years ago. In fact, she thought, it was the very same day she met Caeji. The day things started to spiral out of control.

            Their entrance was approaching. The two looked at each other. Abore grinned at Quin and she returned it with a wink and a smile of her own. Then they stepped out around the screen in unison.

            The duet went off without a hitch. Ari slept through the whole thing, despite the pounding of the drum beside her. The crowd had gained some more members during Abore’s magic and juggling show, even more during their dance duet. If people kept arriving at this rate, their little corner of the arboretum would fill up before the end of the next act.

            When they had finished changing out of their costumes behind the screen, Abore cleared his throat and spoke to Quinas tentatively, “I’m no longer needed here. Maybe I should go look for Sherden, tell him what happened. You can handle the lifting if the pot’s too low during the instrumentals. Haesh, Your’s probably better at it than I am now.”

            “Perhaps I would be if I didn’t stand out so much.” said Quin. “And I think that’s not a bad idea. We could really use Sherden’s guidance right now.”

            “Alright, tell the others where I’ve gone.” said waving goodby, then walked off to the closest path exiting the dome. Comment

            Quin waved him off, then set out her dress for the last dance of the show, even though she didn’t need it for a quarter hour. The dress was a long red multi-layered gown. Dark embroidery covered the bodice and shoulders, as well swirling around the full length skirt in the knotted patterns native to Caldun. It was a relic of the ancient style Zarathi and Reltori women wore millennia before the Empire. A style now seen only in the traditional dances of their castes and in the annals of the Gobrinii.

            Instead of casing the crowd for easy picks during Keluma’s and Akilah’s music, she decided to just sit it out behind the curtain and tune Keluma’s guitar. Judging from the size of the crowd earlier, their hats would be full enough of tips and she wouldn’t need to pick anyone’s pocket today. It was probably best rouse as little suspicion as possible right now.

            When the quarter hour had passed, and the music had died down, she put on her dress and gathered her jewelry. Keluma poked her head behind the curtain to if she was ready. Quin gave her a positive sign and walked out, handing a startled Keluma the already tunned guitar.

            “Where’d Abore go?” asked Keluma under her breath.

            “Went looking for Sherden.” responded Quin. Keluma nodded and took her place to the left.

            The crowd had indeed filled the whole clearing, some people had even illegally climbed the trees to get a better look. Ari had awoken and was sitting on her pillow between Keluma and Akilah, anxious eyes watching her mother get into position. Quin gave a nod to Keluma who, after rechecking the tuning, tapped twice on the box of her guitar to set the rhythm. Akilah began with a muted drumbeat, joined soon by Keluma. Quin began the slow dance a bar later.

            This dance was often a favorite of the audience. It was an old Caldun dance, as old as the style she now wore, performed to this day by the women of the lower castes on the eve of the winter solstice. It’s movements were graceful and precise, involving the entire body. She found it a very soothing dance, both to watch and perform. For a short time, her troubles would leave her heart. She was alone in the universe, nothing existed except her body and the dance it followed. The pressure of the ground on here bare feet and the music in her ears was the only contact from the world outside she needed.

            As the dance continued and her mind began to relax, she felt the touch other minds tickle the back of her senses. First a young girl, her daughter. Then two more, Akilah and Keluma. For a time, they were alone. Then she felt the presence of another mind, someone in the crowd. Then another, and another. Soon she could feel the presence of everyone in the audience. When a mind began to wander, she would coax it back into the show. Those with doubts or worries, found their troubles forgotten for a time. Those with addled hearts, found a renewed passion.

            She tried to touch every mind with her newly found sense of awareness. Some subtly, some more overt. She continued like this until she came to a very unusual mind. It was completely blank, emptier than the void. She tried to push, shine a light on the darkness, but she found nothing. She tried again, pushing harder. This time she ran into a wall. It was as if this person had completely sealed their mind form the outside, letting no thoughts in or out.

            Before she could do more, the song had finished. She held the final pose for a few seconds longer than usual, he senses reverting back to normal. The audience was silent. All she could her heart thumping in her chest, and the deep breaths of the crowd. They were all breathing as one, their bodies and their minds synchronizing to the beat of the dance. One. Two. Three heartbeats they were silent. On the fourth beat they all began to clap, at first together, then staggered as the moment of union began to fade. Those that were sitting stood in ovation.

            Quinas faced forward, and gave a deep bow. A lone drop of sweat fell from her nose, splashing on the wood stage. She starred at it a while, marveling in its reflections. She stepped to the side and gestured to Akilah and Keluma. The two musicians stepped forward and bowed. As they turned around, Akilah gave Quin a, “what the hell just happened? You better explain later!” look. She returned it with a, “I’m not sure, but don’t worry, we’ll talk.” smile.

            After they took a final bow together, Quinas motioned for the audience to be quiet. They complied unusually fast, considering their feverish applause seconds earlier. Her mindlink must still be influencing the crowd.

            “Thank you all for being here and watching us today. I hope you enjoyed your time here and that this day shall live on in your hearts. If you would like to show your appreciation we will be standing at the exits to the clearing, passing our hats, in which you can drop a cred or few.” projected Quin. She stretched her arms wide, taking in the entire stage. “This is our life, it is all we do. It is through the gifts of audiences like you that we can continue to perform our craft, and allow you to share in the enjoyment. We will be here through tomorrow, perhaps longer if things go well.” projected Quin.

            After her little speech, Akilah and Keluma headed out to the right and left paths. Quin walked over and knelt beside her daughter, who was practically bouncing, and handed the child her tip hat. “You were really beautiful mommy. When’ll I be old enough to dance like that?” asked Ari hopefully, clutching the basket with both arms.

            “Well, honey, you still have a lot of growing to do. We’ll have enough creds soon and I can start teaching you as soon as you’re well again. Who knows? If you try real hard, you may even surpass you mother some day.” said Quin encouragingly. She took the flower from her own hair and placed it behind her daughter’s left hear. She then reached out and picked up the child with both arms. After a few moments spent rearranging themselves, they headed off together towards the back of the clearing, through the middle of the crowd. Ari had shifted the basket into one hand and used the other to hang on to her mother’s neck, freeing Quin’s right hand.

            “Wow, aren’t you getting big? Pretty soon you’ll break 100 centimeters.” said Quin to her daughter, who giggled in response. They made their way through the crowd. Occasionally pausing when someone dropped in a tip. One man they passed by took out a very large denomination coin and flipped it into their basket, leaving his pocket open as he thanked them for the performance and walked on. The crowd was very dense and he was bumped by another audience member and stumbled into her as he passed by. From instincts built during the last 15 years on the move, she reached into his open pocket with lightning speed and pulled out a few of what felt like more coins. She quickly deposited them in one of the many pockets hidden in the folds of her dress. He didn’t seem to notice the lift, nor did he try to do anything similar himself.

            They finally reached the back of the clearing and stood there for the next twenty minutes, as people streamed out past them. Some would linger for a while trying to strike up a conversation until they were nudged by those behind, and move on. Most of the people were leaving along Quin’s path, she having been the center of the last act. Akilah’s and Keluma’s paths had emptied and the two had started putting the instruments away and tearing down the stage.

            When she was finally able to excuse herself from the last remaining stragglers, the two other women had finished with the stage and were behind the screen cleaning up. Quin joined them and set Ari down on her pillow. “Want to go swimming after this? There’s a public pool here we could use.” she asked the girl. A swim would do both of them good. It would give her daughter a chance to exercise without injuring her weak bones. For Quin, it offered a good chance to wash off the post performance stink.

            “Ok!” said Ari, who looked excited by the idea. She had been cooped up in inside for most of the past year. Due to their limited funds and fugitive status, they could only travel in cramped steerage bunks–or worse–of small, slow vessels. Quin had grown up living under similar conditions, but she had been a healthy child and there was ample medical care when needed. “What about you too?” she asked Akilah and Keluma.

            “I would love to. It has been years since I last swam.” said Akilah.

            “No thanks Quin, I’ll pass. Not very fond of water. Someone needs to watch our stuff too.” said Keluma. A second later she added, “Do you think it’s wise? Shouldn’t we keep a low profile? Just in case.”

            “Yes, I know, we should. But if we do need to jump system, this’ll probably be the last chance for something like this we’ll get for over a year.” said Quinas. Trying to convince herself more than Keluma. “Heash! The amenities are so nice here, it’d be suspicious if we didn’t take advantage of them. I’ll keep an eye out for trouble.”

            Keluma sighed. “Very well, I can’t stop you, and I looks like you’ve already made up your mind anyway.” They continued cleaning up in silence. Ari, anxious to help, sorted the jewelry into the proper boxes. All their equipment and costumes eventually fit neatly into just over one cubic meter of cases. After they finished, Quin, Akilah, and Ari walked off into the park while Keluma stayed behind, whittling on a new piece of wood.

            Akilah leaned over to Quin and whispered in her ear, “You are not getting out of telling me what happened during the dance back there. I will just have ask you later. You have only delayed the inevitable.

            The aquatic center was split into four separate pools: one for wading, one for laps, one for diving, and one all-purpose. They entered the women’s locker room. Quin carrying Ari; Akilah carrying their duffles. The room was empty except for the three of them. Four aisles of benches and chest high lockers filled the room. The hiss of the showers mixed with the sound of children playing in the water filtered in through the opposite doorway. Akilah set their bags down on the closest bench and found two vacant lockers.

            “Damn!” cursed Quinas, looking into her bag and seeing her swimsuit. It was her old suit from Caldun when she had worked at the royal palace. The seal of the royal family overlain by the Zarathii crest was emblazoned across the front and back. She hadn’t worn that suit for 15 years. Her newer, unmarked suit had worn out a year ago and she had since recycled it. “I forgot about that.”

            “Hmmm... oh that old thing. Don’t you have another one?” asked Akilah, leaning over to see what Quin was cursing over.

            “No, I recycled it. Some time ago actually. While the Zarathii crest may not be very well known, I guarantee your families seal will be recognized.” replied Quin.

            “Well this one sure looks better than that last one you had. You looked like my grandmother in that thing, covered from neck to ankle. Why don’t you just wear your old one?” Akilah held up a hand in response to the angry look Quinas gave her. “Hold on, Hold on. I have a plan. Why do not just make it a two piece? Show off that lovely waste you have. No need to sew anything, it is made out of self seaming fabric.” Akilah held up scissors which she had somehow materialized from her bag. She gave Quinas a fiendish grin made cutting motions in the air with the scissors.

            “What in haesh are you doing with those here?” asked Quin rolling her eyes. Although it would solve the problem for now. “Alright, fine. We’ll do it. While I’m sure I’ll regret this, I’ll leave the cutting up to you while I get Ari in her suit. Just try and not go overboard. Keep it modest, okay?”

            “Yes ma’am!” said Akilah. She then gave a mock salute with the scissors and grabbed the suit from Quin’s hand. By the time Quinas had gotten Ari into her suit Akilah had already changed into her own suit and finished snipping Quin’s old racing suit which was now less than half of it’s former self, cut down to a racer back top and bikini bottom. Only the very top of the now unrecognizable crest was visible. Akilah bowed and handed Quin the finished product. “As asked, I deliver. Now if you do not mind, I will go ahead and enjoy myself. See if there are any hot chicks I can pick up.” she said jokingly. I hope. Then walked out the door to the showers. Well she’s sure cheered up. Coming here was a good idea.

            She put on her “new” suit, stowed their bags in a locker, and headed to the wading pool with Ari. The wading pool was moderately full. Most of its occupants were the same as her and Ari, parents with young children. They drew many stares when they exited the locker room. Tettos were rare in this system, and most of her’s were showing now thanks to Akilah’s ad hoc alterations. Quin was also the youngest parent present. Probably by several centuries, she estimated.

            She entered the pool first and, kneeling, held her arms out for her daughter. “Come on honey, the water’s nice.” she coaxed. After first testing the water several times with her toe, Ari hopped into her mother’s waiting arms.

            The two wadded around the pool casually. After a while, Quin started teaching Ari some swimming basics. She still kept at least one hand under her daughter at all times, just in case. Ari’s heart and lungs couldn’t take too much exertion and the pool was nearly a meter deep in parts. Quin had to stop and pick the girl up several times when she was getting too tired. After half an hour of this she decided they had both had enough swimming for now and carried Ari out to one of the many beach style chairs surrounding the pool where they could relax.

            The pool area of the park complex was kept warmer than the rest, trying to imitate the tropical regions of the planet it orbited. The dome overhead let in more light than usual and the internal climate control kept the humidity at around 75%. I was economically cheaper to provide all these amenities on station rather than transport people down to the planet and back up again. The two relaxed on the reclining chair, drying off. Ari sat in her mother’s lap and looking intently at her surroundings. Quin tried to look as relaxed as possible, feigning a nap while she was actually keeping careful watch through her mirrored sunglasses for any suspicious people. Several times she would see someone staring at her and say something to a nearby swimmer. Sometimes someone she recognized as being at the performance would interject something and the questioner would nod acceptance. Pretty soon the word had spread around the water park that she was a traveling performer and the amount of starring sharply declined.

            Ari was getting hungry, so they returned to the locker room where Quin fed her then had a quick snack herself on a protein bar from her bag. Akilah was waiting for them at their chair when they returned.

            “Why don’t you go for a little swim on your own? I can keep Ari company.” suggested Akilah.

            “Don’t you want to swim some more?” asked Quin. It was rather unlike Akilah to be so helpful out of the blue.

            “Nah, I am all tired out. Go ahead.” replied Akilah. She didn’t look tired at all however. Quin decided against pressing further. She didn’t really want to know why Akilah no longer wished to swim. It would probably be embarrassing.

            “Thank you. Honey, would you mind spending some time with auntie Aki?” Quin asked her daughter. The girl had already started to doze off from the meal but still managed an affirmative nod before closing her eyes. She gave Ari to Akilah’s outstretched arms and kissed her daughter’s forehead then headed for the pool. Because of the non-standard modifications to her suit, she probably should refrain from diving for fear of it ripping or coming off entirely. She will just have to stick with laps for today.

            Comment She decided to only do thirty six laps, still a little rusty at swimming after a year out of the water. People were starring at her again when she came out of the water and walked back to her friend and daughter.

            “You were the one who did not want to draw too much attention. Why did you go and do that?” Akilah asked.

            “What’d I do?” asked Quin.

            “That was the fastest I have ever seen anyone swim. Fastest by far in fact.”

            “But it didn’t feel like I was going very fast. In fact I was pacing myself because I’m so rusty. I must have lost count at some point.” Quin cursed herself. How could she loose control like that?

            “Rusty!? You did thirty six laps in under six minutes! The pool is imperial regulation too, it is longer than Calimshite regulation!” said Akilah, almost shouting. Fortunately they had been talking in their local language reducing the chance of eavesdropping. Even if someone knew the language, they would have a hard time understanding the peculiar mix of Zarathii and Reltorii dialects.

            “What? How’s that possible? The only people I know of who could possibly do that are PKs like at PsiCal. Zarathi can’t do that, right?” asked Quin. “Anyway I think we’ve overstayed our welcome, so to speak, let’s get out of here.”

            “I agree. And to answer your question. No, there has never been an operant Zarathi to the best of my knowledge, except in myth. In fact, there has not been an operant psychokinetic Calimshite for over five millennia. Now we really need to have that talk.” said Akilah, giving Quin the sleeping Ari then grabbing their towels.

            They left for the showers right away. Quin roused Ari so she could clean and change the girl. When Quin pulled out the dress she had been wearing earlier she hear a clanging sound. The coins she had picked from the man after the show had come out the concealed pockets and fallen tot the ground. She had forgotten that they were even there until now.

            She reached down to pick them up and noticed that one of the coins seemed odd. It was larger than the rest and appeared to have no denomination noted. The only distinguishable features were the small circuit patter on one side and the circular crystal on the opposite side. It was a standard holo disk. It had enough memory to display up to an hour of holographic video and just enough power to last that long. Curious, she squeezed the disk to activate it.

            No video appeared. Instead, small letters coalesced a few inches above the disk. She had to squint to read them. “Nice lift today. I have a proposal for you, Quinas. I’ll find you again soon so we can discuss it.” the holo read. Her heart sank to the bottom of her stomach when she read those words. Someone knew who she was and was able to plant the disk so she would snatch it.

            “Akilah.” said Quin shakingly.


            “Get dressed as fast as possible. We need to leave now!”

            Akilah, looked worried and confused at Quin’s sudden outburst of fear. Nevertheless, she listened to the older woman and threw her hairbrush into her bag, leaving her hair half combed, and continued dressing, faster than before. They finished dressing and left the place at once. Quin carrying Ari and Akilah carrying their bags, just as before.

            They nearly ran into a short man in a white suit standing just outside the exit to the water park. “Oh excuse me.” said Quinas, looking at the man’s face. It was the same man who she had picked the holo disk from. The man gave an crooked smile when he saw the three of them and spoke.

            “Hello Quinas, I am glad I caught you. From the look on your face I assume you received my message. Hmm? Perhaps you could join me for a stroll through the park? I have some pressing matters I would very much like to discuss with you.”

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Entries which correspond to Quin's journal entries will have a [DIARY] tag and an in-game date in the title. Entires which are written in prose format will have a [PROSE] tag and some description or title as the subject. Notes and other non story entries will have the [OOC] tag followed by a description. Prose entries could also be formatted in html, especially WIPs so you can see all my comments and margin notes.
This story takes place aproximately 15 Caldún years after their escape. Ari is is about to turn 10 and is sick. While they don't know it yet, the cause of her condition is the modified genes she inherited from her mother. The accelerated growth of the Zarathii is due to both genetic manipulation, and heavy drug and hormone therapy in order to make everything grow at the propper rate. Zarathii mature faster mentally in areas such as spacial relations and mathematics although their motor skills develope more slowly. Thus, complicated tasks involving higher thinking can be imprinted as second nature, like walking is to us.
Ari has not been recieving any drugs or hormones while she still has the genetic accelerated growth. Several things. Her heart and lungs are too small for her to engage in too mush activity. Her bones are also not strong enough to withstand the stresses of activities such as running or jumping. Quinas, Kēluma, and Aborə are all physically equivalent to young adults (20s) while Akilah is in her "early teens," (~13), Sherden is over 1000 (old guy).
The workers have a very heavy accent and slang filled dialect,  Right not I just have them use alot of propper conjunctions in ther speach to represent this. I'm thinking of adding more slang and impropper conjunctions (i.e gonna, t', lookin', etc.) Akilah, however, does not have the same accent as the rest. I'm representing this by having her speak only in "King's English." Note they all speak in Kings English when addressing an audiance, although tehy would still have a heavy accent.
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