Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Traveller - Library Data II

Time is short today, but here are a few quick notes pertaining to a system in Foreven Subsector O. This is probably a bit overboard for the short encounter (in the next Star Trader post, when it's finished)which it helps explain, but anything for a bit of colour, I guess.

Ghisl/Foreven 1736 A42057C-D

When Imperial scouts first contacted Ghisl in 738, they found a minor human race, the Unergn, whose dozen or so TL8 nations had spread out to live on minor planets and moons throughout the outer system. The homeworld itself had been abandoned for at least 150 years, as their star had become a red giant, boiling away Ghisl's seas and most of its atmosphere.

The Unergn were easily integrated into interstellar society, with many migrating to the Imperium and nearby pocket empires, whilst those who remained behind welcomed new peoples and ideas, and especially technologies, into their territories. With integration came a loss of cultural identity, making the Unergn as a separate branch of humaniti a relic of the past, with only a few scattered groups retaining their pre-contact cultural underpinnings (see Hrknrr Machine Cult).

The system was formally inducted into the Oonettijl Polity in 822, and is today has one of the better shipyards in the subsector. In 901 the homeworld was re-settled by groups from three of the remaining interplanetary nations, not out of any sense of history or sentimentality, but as centres for research and development of environmental technologies. The high law level on the "mainworld" is due to the level of secrecy and competition involved in these projects.

Hrknrr Machine Cult

The reclusive machine worshippers of the Hrknrr machine cult are a not uncommon site in the asteroid belts throughout Foreven's rimward subsectors.

When the pre-stellar Unergn (q.v.) had colonised their system, a religious movement arose amongst some of the inhabitants of the asteroid belt. They began to venerate the technology that kept them alive as an emanation of their god, Hrkei, and finally began to seek communion with the divine by the combination of man and machine. They began serious research into cybernetics, and as time went on they regarded cybernetic prostheses as the means to salvation, even going so far as to voluntarily replace healthy limbs and organs with less-efficient cybernetic or indeed simply robotic parts (the best they could do at TL8), and implanting as much metal and wire in the body as possible that served no "worldly" purpose. The Hrknrr coming-of-age ceremony involves surgical extraction of the teeth and their replacement with stainless steel denture plates.

The inward-looking nature of the cult caused them to shun outsiders, as much as their frightening appearance caused outsiders to shun them. They lived (and now live) in remote enclaves where they can commune with their machines in peace. Since they are live exclusively within the asteroid belts of a system, the cult members make their living much as do other belters: mining, salvage, and construction work. Amongst themselves, cult members speak Gwolhio, the last surviving Unergn language. Community spokespersons are conversant in Galanglic in order to deal with outsiders.

The conservative nature of their beliefs causes them to distrust both high and low technology. They generally believe anything below TL6 to be primitive and savage, and anything above TL11 to be sinful in its retreat from the sanctity of the nature of Machine. Generally, the larger and more mechanical the object, the more they regard it as holy; a TL4 steam engine would, for example, find much more favour than a TL9 slimline pocket communicator.

It should be noted that, next to their machines, the cultists value hard work, quiet contemplation, and truth above all else, and are devoted pacifists. Cheap holovid portrayals of them as drunkards, cannibals, or Zhodani sympathisers are to be condemned as the worst sorts of fiction.

N.B. Many cult members in the Imperium have replaced enough of their bodies with mechanical parts to legally be considered robots under the Shudusham Concords. The cult embrace this wholeheartedly, and consider the Imperium to be one of the most enlightened governments because of it.

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