SpiralArms: Main Page
Travel between the stars is accomplished with a drive called the Warp/Fold drive, due to the strange manipulations it makes upon local space to drive ships faster than light. When in warp/fold drive, the ship cannot communicate with normal space. The 'space' of warp/fold resembles a soap bubble, with the swirling mix of rainbow colors, with the colors a thousand times brighter and more vivid. When engaged, the drive makes a very pretty light show, and a dramatic flash in a four pointed star pattern when the ship warp/folds. Warp/Fold travel is very quick, taking at most 4 months to go from the galactic core to the outermost rim of the galaxy (average velocity of at least 150,000 times the speed of light). It does however, suffer from one minor issue. Warp/Fold ships cannot pass through solid matter. Flying a warp/fold ship through an area of matter, even matter as diffuse as a nebula's cloud of gas and dust is akin to flying a plane into a sandstorm. It will tear the ship apart if the ship's speed is not substantially reduced.
Power armor is an outmoded technology, since Mecha, cybernetics, and drugs are infinitely more effective and proven as a technology. Mecha, and other super tech additions, add ons, and other super tech devices take training and years of effort to truly master.
Airships are common sights in planetary atmospheres, carrying large cargos from place to place cheaply and efficiently. Pleasure cruises in luxury airships are a common entertainment for honeymoons and pleasure trips.
Weapons technology has advanced to the point where laser and other such beam weaponry have become a reality and are quite powerful and commonplace.
True sentient computers, both mainframe & android exist, but they are uncommon. AI's can be programed to do what their creators wish, and love doing it, but 'bugs' can create renegade and rogue AI's.
Among the AI's a select few were made by no known company or group. These extremely advanced androids are known as Selenoids, and are practically indistinguishable from humans, as opposed to the clearly artificial natures of other AI's. Their purpose is simple. Selenoids were built simply to be human.
Genetic tampering, which was once widespread, has been banned by both Imperial decree and Confederation law, but the results are still commonplace as drones or labor workers. Some of the common gene hybrids were cats, dogs, mice, horses, and bulls although many other types exist.
The setting is the spiral arm of a major galaxy. There are two prominent stellar nations in this arm, divided by a GlactioGraphic barrier, The Boneyard . The Boneyard is a region of space that has had several relatively recent supernovas meaning the space is filled with asteroids and gassy nebulae which makes it difficult to cross the area safely, and impossible to traverse it at speed in Warp/Fold.
As an outgrowth of the Human Adept, and the mentality that spawned it, body enhancement though technology (becoming a cyborg for power) is considered atrocious and mortifying for everyone alike. Since organs and limb replacements can be force grown for the person in question, cybernetics are anathema. An entire spectrum of performance enhancing drugs exists as a quick and dirty way to get the benefits of an Adept, though they have a great many drawbacks and disadvantages. However, they are fairly cheap and easily available. They're considered 'cheating' by most, but since they do not require complete replacement or surgery, galactic society considers them better than cybernetic enhancement.
The two major stellar nations, the Coalition and the Empire are currently in a state of cold war, due to various economic factors and the history between them.
Aside from the obvious need for the Empire to expand and the Coalition galactographically in its path for expansion, the cold war between the 2 powers are also over the remnant alien super tech. As each nation has gathered different pieces of the super tech and integrated it with their existing technology, so too has the technology of the nations evolved along different lines.
Dispite the fantastic and oftentimes incomprehensible alien technology advances, to date no alien super tech has been recovered which in any way demonstrates a knowledge or use of Chi. Apparently, humans are the only ones to have unlocked the greater potential within themselves.
The liquor known as Amasee is a major item for smuggling and worth a great deal. It is a mild hallucinogen, and intense narcotic.
There is no spoon, the utensil has been forgotten, only knife and forks are still used, soups are served in cup like bowls and are sipped.
The Empire is a complex bureaucracy with overtones of feudal Japan/China, ruled by an emperor. The empire is corrupt bureaucratic nightmare. The emperor is actually an old and senile man under heavy sedation, used as a puppet by the majority of the council. The empire's finances are in ruins, and only clever bookkeeping allows it to continue. Though it does them little good, the Empire lays claim to the holy homeland, Terra. Terra (Earth) is mostly a tourist attraction nowadays, and at least generates revenue for the Empire in that manner. The outer rim is the Empire's, and has been long settled. Unfortuantly for the Empire, the core-ward stars are under the control of the Coalition of Federated Planets. As such, the Empire is desperate for material and resources, which are possessed in abundance by the Coalition.
Life in the Empire
The empire spends most of it's time trying to hold itself together. Wars and artificial threats are good ways to do this, and so they have built up the notion that the CFP is a dangerous and hated enemy in the minds of the populace. The Empire is rife with hypocrisy, the most obvious of which is that the Empire itself regularly pays the clan of Cyber-Ninjas to do its deep cover dirty work. The average citizen of the Empire lives a grim life of near desperation working for the monolithic Empire, trying to keep its rusty gears moving forward. Space travel is uncommon, and usually reserved for the wealthy and Military. Food riots are uncommon, but have been known to bring entire continents to their knees until food shipments have been restored.
The Coalition of Federated Planets
In theory, the CFP is actually a Imperial province in rebellion. In reality, it long ago achieved the status, in fact if not in the Imperial Archives, of being a separate and fully autonomous state. It's origin lies in the distance from the center of Imperial control and the fortunate happenstance of The Boneyard. A wasteland of gas and rocky debris floating in space between the two. Without The Boneyard, the CFP would long ago have been conquered and subdued as a rebellious Imperial Province. With it, it is the only true rival to the Imperial might in the stellar arm of the galaxy.
The Coalition's location makes it difficult for people to travel between the Empire and Coalition's territory. That isolation has allowed the Coalition's technology to develop in different paths from those of the Empire's. One of the results of this fact is that Coalition soldiers mainly battle using transformable mecha supported by medium sized battleships which act as carriers.
The Coalition is resource rich, but skill and talent poor. It is still a growing nation, and lacks the centuries of skill and talent pool that the Empire can draw on. Though it is making great strides forward, it still lacks what the Empire has in abundance.
Life in the Coalition
The average citizen of the Coalition is well educated and well taken care of. Most citizen's don't tend to spend a lot of time moving from planet to planet... that kind of thing is more commonly reserved for the Navy. Space travel is freely available and commerce a common occupation, but the average Coalition citizen prefers to work and play on his world of origin.
True pirates do exist, and are a very real hazard in the setting, preying on any ship that lowers it's defenses for too long, however most "pirates" are actually privateers who are operating under letters of marque issued by the Coalition, who harass the Empire's shipping, and make a bit of profit for themselves and their crew on the side.
Life as a Pirate
Life as a pirate is dangerous, deadly, and to some, the most fun you can have with your clothes on. It's commonly said among the rogues of The Boneyard “Pirate blood washes away the past.” The only real commonality between pirates is their near universal distaste for authority.
The Bounty Hunters
The bounty hunters guild acts as the Extra Planetary Police in the Empire. The empire funds their actions, pays the bounties, and in general uses the bounty hunters for a police force instead of paying for any kind of official police force. Becoming a bounty hunter requires a series of tests and a lot of paperwork. Bounty Hunting without a license means the Imperial offices will not pay the bounties on any criminals you happen to bring in. There are 3 classes of license. Minor, Major, and Unlimited. Each type of license requires a separate test, and allows access to higher levels of restricted weapons and equipment.
Life as a Bounty Hunter
Bounty Hunting is a fairly common occupation. It pays well, if you manage to survive long enough, and it's high profile. Lots of young men and women, physical adepts and otherwise join the ranks of high profile bounty companies hoping to make a name for themselves by taking down a famous criminal. Most of them only find a cold shallow grave on an unmarked planet. The pressures of the job can even force the hunters to go head to head, fighting for the catch, or simply the status of having beaten a famous hunter on equal footing.
A secret group of people, the Crusaders, are actually the descendants of a failed Imperial super-soldier program. In Imperial jargon, this means that the subjects all escaped. The Crusaders started out simply as the super-soldiers trying to do good in the galaxy, and has been opposing the Empire since it grew corrupt.
The chi adepts who focus on the physical prefer swords, staves, and other such 'archaic' weapons since using them amounts to constant training and awareness of physical locations. Knowing without knowing, and awareness of the flows of fate are part of this discipline. It is well known that to see a man carrying an 'archaic' weapon in the modern age is either a sign that he is such an adept, or wishing to die. Adepts live longer and appear much younger than chronologically would indicate. Channeling chi makes you age slower, and in some cases the Adept will actually age backwards.
Though galactic society considers cybernetic enhancement to be unclean and twisted, there exists a clan of Cyber-Ninjas who combine extensive training and cybernetic enhancement together into an efficiently lethal combination. Feared killers and invisible until they strike, the Cyber-Ninjas are more figures of myth and legend than real people... but as their victims attest, they are a real force in the galaxy.