The interstellar enforcement 'bible'

Interstellar enforcement

faqs for facts

The Major Shells look like this …

A map of the Major Shells, backdrop to the Interstellar Enforcement Agency series

and consist of the Landau Rift together with the Great Shell, the Atlas Shell, the Local Shell, the Bifold Shell and the Polar Shell.

This slice of space is a 2D representation of a cubic 3D map.  The dimensions of the cuboid slice are 1040 light years by 560 light years by 150 light years.  So … quite big!

Spacelanders.  Any people originating from Earth, over 500 years ago, now living and working in the various zones of space they have settled. (Lander Spacers, people working and living in the Landau Rift or ‘Rift’ aka Landers, commonly known as Spacelanders, originally from Earth, over 500 years ago).  Now extended to mean any humans, originally from Earth, living and working in Space.

Those humans who live on Earth are referred to as ‘flatlanders’ by those who are now descended from the original space colonists.  This comes from Abbott’s book from the 19th century, back on Earth.  Of course, the space colonists have come to be known as spacelanders, from the same source.  The two now have very little to do with each other.  Spacelanders submit to a loose and isocratic (all citizens have equal power) system of government called the SpaceTrust.  This mainly exists to coordinate mining rights and concessions, direct the Genetic Institute, and produce, arm and maintain a small force of ships to protect Spacelanders from open attack.  Otherwise, the Spacelanders tend to live lonely lives, with only the immediate family on the family ‘barge’, as they are known.  Children, on reaching 18, are given a mining concession of their own.  At the same time, they engender artificially six progeny. Three go to the father’s family barge and three to the mother’s.  Due to this aggressive population policy, there has been a population explosion over the last two hundred years.  Even so, there are many more places to mine than there are Spacelanders to mine it.

Spacelanders have two surnames, the first is the star system they are granted at 18 and the second is a famous scientist they wish to venerate, also used as the name of their ship.  First names are usually Terran, even so long after separation.

To avoid inbreeding, Spacelanders donate gametes when they are eighteen, and these are used according to a careful bloodline analysis, to engender artificially future generations.  When children are engendered, two are always provided and one is returned to the female parent’s family, one to the male parent’s family.  Because of high rates of accidents amongst Spacelanders and the current wish to expand the population, in this generation each Spacelander is a parent to six children.  The Headquarters of the Genetic Institute is on Zenubi.  At the same time the gametes are extracted, individual apparatus are inserted into the parent donors to preclude the engendering of further children.   By law, Spacelanders may not have these removed.  Only if a Spacelander wishes to form a relationship with a Flatlander – a Terran-  is reversal allowed, and then only by special dispensation.

Spacelanders are required to assist at special courses, usually once every five or ten years, to train them in modern techniques and allow them to interchange ideas with their peers.  It is a very high-stress life, and very lonely sometimes.  Many suffer from anxiety and phobias.

Human Omnistate.  Omnistate is the contracted form of Omnicompetent State, which means ‘having all the necessary powers). All the humans still living on Earth. (Because of Abbott’s book, known as Flatlanders, still living on Earth and the surrounding areas)

Politics in the Shells: The Human Omnistate claims the whole of the Local Shell, saying there are no higher intelligences except humans.  The Avaraks refuse.  They mine several areas in the local Shell, and have done for generations, claiming that the rights to those worlds belong to them.  They categorically refuse to pay dues to the humans. 

In any case, the Avaraks and the Tyzarans share the Bifold Shell, so they could never claim the whole thing for themselves.

For this reason, the Tyzarans agree with the Avaraks. 

The Nepheals have so far been withdrawn and unwilling to socialize.  They are strongly anti-expansionist, however and hate aggression of any kind.

The Macers, who cannot travel away from their own planet, find the idea of anybody ‘owning’ Space quite ludicrous, but are willing to offer their rafts on Ulon Prime for talks.  They are terrified of the Vaers taking over the whole of the Great Shell

Both types of Vaers say that if the Terrans successfully claim the Local Shell, they will demand ownership of the Great Shell.

Avaraks.  A species from the Bifold Supershell.  Their home planet is known as Rhyveka, in the Veka star system.  Rhyveka is very close to the Local Shell, almost on the border (close to the Carapace Ring), and many Avaraks mine the outer stars in the Local Shell, such as Gienak and Raksora.   Avaraks are heavy-bodied mammals with large heads.

Avaraks are the miners of the Major Shells.  They developed spaceflight quite a long time ago, firstly in order to supplement their own need of some of the more valuable and scarce elements, then to trade with other races.  They are the major suppliers of ore within the shells.

The males are heavy and solid, with large heads.  The males have strong vocal chords, which give them deep and resonant voices.  However, they are unable to reach high pitches.  Their conversation therefore seems intimidating.  They are stubborn and resistant to change.  They are aggressive by nature and will defend their nation from perceived threats with their lives.  Only a few Avaraks can speak Universal, and even these do not like to.  The sounds are uncomfortable for their throats, and they consider the softness of the sounds too feminine.

Female Avaraks are born with slightly smaller vocal chords, which give them naturally softer voices.  Despite this, they are submitted to treatment from 8 years old with injections which block signals from the nerves to the muscles of the throat, forcing the chords to atrophy, and delivering upon puberty a small, hoarse, breathy voice that the male Avaraks find irresistible.  Females are also completely different to the males.  Where the males are heavy and weighty, the females are thin and almost delicate.  The males have large heads with prominent factions; the females have poorly defined features that make them appear of little importance.  Their features blur into their skin and it is extremely hard to tell females apart, for the other races.  Females are considered of importance only for breeding.  No females are taught universal.  No females are allowed to do any job considered to require decision-making.  Most are conjoined to a male by 15, and pregnant by 16.  As many as 65% of females die on birth, so it is most unusual to meet one who is older than 20. By then they will have given birth three times, which means that they have only around a 4% chance of reaching 21.  Those that do reach this age are freed from marital obligations and become midwives and advisors to the younger generations.  Even so, their lifespan is short.  Few live to reach 35.  The males, on the other hand, can reach 70 years of age and still be productive.  The most venerable male Avaraks are in their 80s and 90s. 

Female Avaraks have no vote on anything in their world and do not enjoy emancipation.  They belong to their husbands, who are free to mistreat, sell, exchange and even kill them.  This, nowadays is frowned upon, but still occurs in distant mountainous areas of Rhyveka.

A female death is not acknowledged on Rhyveka, whereas a male death requires a long ceremony, attended by all his offspring.  This goes on for three days by law, and any female wives surviving him are ceremoniously auctioned off to the highest bidders.  The resultant moneys are used to erect huge mausoleums to his achievements, so most Avaraks make sure they have at least ten wives at all times.  They will search far and wide for the females with the most breathy voices, to ensure, if  the worst should come to pass, that their resting places should be worthy of them.   This means that any noble house of Avarak will have at least three seekers, individuals who travel the planet to find the sweetest voiced females for the males of their houses.  Seekers are highly trusted members of any house. The most important Avaraks can have up to 30 wives at any one time.

Avaraks therefore look down on any female.  They particularly despise any females with sharp voices.  They look down on aliens with only one wife.  They don’t really like any aliens at all.  They have an almost military organization, one which adapts easily to war.  Their leaders are based on a pyramidal concept of power.  They are, in fact, fairly war-like creatures, although they would dispute this.

Tyzarans. An alien species from the Bifold Shell.  They originally come from the Tyzar star system, around 150 light years from the Avarak home planet and about 50 light years towards the centre of the Bifold Shell.  Tyzarans all have central ridges (women one, men two) that display when they detect danger.  They are extremely intelligent and sensitive bipedal creatures with almost humanoid features, though they tend to be thinner and quicker than humans. They are the most advanced race in this area of the galaxy and it is rumored that they are perfecting some sort of hyperspace travel which will enable them to travel across the shells in days rather than weeks or months. They are of a similar height, but don’t reach adulthood until they are 25.  They can live to 190 earth years.

The Tyzarans are considered to be the most intelligent of the Major Shell species.  They are in trials for the new Zero Point Hyperspace drive (ZEPH drive), and even without it, have the most advanced technology anywhere in the Shells.  They are almost humanoid in their features, though taller and thinner than most humans.  They also have crests, one if they are female, two if they are male.  These crests display when they detect danger, or under strong emotions.  They have no hair.   They are elegant and quick-moving when they wish, though generally hold themselves in a dignified way.

Tyzarans speak naturally like humans, and all Tyzarans are taught Universal at school, along with their native Tyzar.  They have soft voices, which means that the Avaraks despise them as weak and feminine.  In fact, they are determined and very intelligent. 

Their society is one of the fairest in all the Shells.  They are long-lived, which means that they can spend years in schooling their young ones.  These reach 25 after 20 years education and means that nearly any Tyzar knows more than any human.  Their schooling includes all of the sciences.  Art is not generally followed.  They do use body art, however, and consider heavily embellished jewellery as art.  So they like to carry their aesthetic sense on them, rather than display it around their houses.  A subclass of this trend is to wear jewellery which is really a weapon.  Some of these can cost thousands of credits.  Female Tyzars may wear two in particular.  Nivala, which are two pronged brooches set into the clothes through special rents so that only the brooch part can be seen.  They are worn in pairs of two so that the brooches appear symmetrical while the prongs, which are very sharp, are hidden.  These can be removed from the clothes and thrown in microseconds, and are able to stop a fully-grown Avarak in its tracks.  The other weapon of choice for female Tyzars is the Thoria, which is a long chain necklace with two weighted ends which is worn wrapped several times around the neck.   Thoria unravel with one quick, practiced movement, and are then used to disable an opponent, either by direct attack or by throwing to cause them to fall.  All Tyzars over the age of 8 also carry a small but deadly ABlaser, known as a ZR.  This became standard practice after an attack on Tyzar Prime some two hundred years ago by the Avaraks, when hundreds of Tyzar children were slaughtered because they had no way to protect themselves.

Tyzars practice the Savior protocol.  This means that if somebody saves their life, they are indebted forever. Their life is renewed but the previous lifeline is considered to be broken. They may no longer follow the path they would have taken.  A bond is formed between them and their savior, and they stay with them for the rest of their, or their savior’s, lives.  They are required to hold themselves ready to repay the debt if the chance arises, which means shadowing their savior’s every footstep.

Tyzars have a child-like love of fun.  They play computer and other games, with a huge industry based on innovating virtual technology.  They love sport.  They are passionate about two in particular … gravity climbing and space jetting.  Their best athletes are idolized by the general public.

From a young age they are taught to respect and obey their elders, but they are also very playful, which makes such respect a bit of a struggle.  Because they are so bright, and because they are encouraged to be independent, they do not always listen to instructions and are inclined to think they know best.  However, when they do form bonds those bonds are for life.  They are loyal to a fault, and will protect their friends from harm, even if that means risking their own health and safety.

Tyzars are accustomed to applying logic to any situation.  They are quite adept at considering all aspects of a problem, and can be invaluable in arriving at unexpected, lateral solutions.  They hate war and conflict, but will respond if it is deemed that their laws or precepts have been threatened.  They are fierce fighters because they never give up.  They practice martial arts from the age of 2 and are usually proficient by 10.  Older Tyzars can take on 3 human opponents and still win.

Tyzars are innately happy and see brightness around them.  It is unusual for them to suffer from depression or mental disease, something they regard as a ‘human’ disease.  They are not gregarious, however, preferring to spend much of their time in study and scientific investigation.   

Enif.  Enif are  self-effacing and introverted within their pairs.  They use tactile communication when alone.  This means that they speak by creating complex patterns of vibrations, which can be interpreted through cordotonal organs situated beneath the skin of almost the whole surface area of their bodies.  They have to be touching to use this form of communication, so it has become highly personal.  It is the way faliifs speak, and it is considered the height of rudeness to touch one or other of the faliifs when they are in a state of communication.  Enifs who do this are expelled from the homeworld.

Amongst the group, one Enif is designated repository for the group knowledge.  One of each faliif will inform this individual, known as the Ziifaan.  Each Ziifaan in turn sifts all the information coming to it, reporting the most important to the repository for the subdistrict, the Belofiin.  Similarly each Belofiin reports to a Sandiif, who reports to a Mendiliif, and so on, until finally the head of the Enif, their leader, known as the “Aliifat”, is reached.  All major decisions are taken unilaterally by the Aliifat on behalf of the rest of the Enif race.  In Interstellar meetings, the Aliifat is represented by 27 specially designated Belofiin, three Sandiif, and one Mendeliif.  Normally they would report back in person to the Aliifat to obtain a ruling, although the 31 strong delegation is authorized to take decisions on his behalf if such a decision is unanimous.  Such decisions are known as Aliisions, and are binding only for thirty days or until ratification by the Aliifat itself.

There are parallel but similar systems to keep a repository of knowledge and art.  The Enif are highly intellectual and consider it the duty of each individual to make the world either a more beautiful place, or to extend the total knowledge of the race.  Both goals are considered worthy.

To express opinions to alien species, the Enif use a touchpad which translates their wishes to spoken words.  They do not type into such pads.  Instead, they use special sensors which pick up the complex patterns of variation normally used between the Enif.  This is then translated by the software to Standard, so they can be easily understood.

Since Enif cannot hear, they also need such pads in order to understand the sounds of speech around them.  All Enif who deal regularly with aliens are equipped with these portable touchpads, which are like long silver cylinders.  They are clamped around their lower forearms, usually on the right, and the underside is covered in small bumps which can translate the input speech into the physical sensation needed under their skin.

Each pair of Faliifs will engender two new individuals, cross-reproducing to avoid interbreeding.  As youngsters, Enif are required to attend schools far away from their parents and siblings, in order to minimize inbreeding.  Such schooling takes twenty standard years.  The first five years are common to all Enif, then the choice is made of Arts or Sciences, with two similarly decisive choices every five years to narrow down the speciality.  Since the schooling is from five to twenty-five, most Enif find their faliifs while far away from home.

Enif do not really believe in sacrificing themselves for their race.  However, many of their artists would certainly sacrifice themselves for art, and some of the scientists would be happy to lose their own life in pursuit of further knowledge.  They believe that the achievements they leave behind are of supreme importance.  The Siinala monument, for example, is revered by them.  All Enif will visit it at some time during their lives.

Enif usually live for only around sixty years, giving them thirty years of youth, and thirty years of productivity.  They decline very suddenly, usually passing from health to death in 24 hours.  This change is heralded by a heightening and intensifying of all their cordotonal organs.  They enter into what is known as the “state of enlightenment”.  At such a time, their faliif will curl up with them, touching them with as much of its body as is possible.  In this way they will also assume the state of enlightenment, enabling them to pass on at exactly the same time as their faliif. They will commune for those last hours, and only their nearest Belofiin may join briefly with them close to the end to record any lasting insights for posterity.  The Belofiin will then bless them both, and withdraw to wait solemnly for their joint death.  This is a happy event, as it is said that faliifs truly join in the moment of their death, becoming one soul forever.  Their local group will rejoice and celebrate such a union for two whole days.   From the day of their death, their names are also joined into one and all accomplishments are considered to belong to that one new individual.

Protocol requires that the Enif be individually referred to as “it”.

Nepheals.  This is a spacefaring alien race that lives high up in the Atlas Shell.    They possess FTL capabilities.

Nepheals value intelligence and reasoning.  They eschew impulsiveness, though their young can be quite volatile until they learn control.  They usually settle down by the time they are thirty.  Nepheals can live up to 200 standard years.

They are important members of the Major Shells, fiercely protective of environmental issues, but uninterested in political maneuvering.  They dislike the Terrans and the Avaraks for their lack of respect of their environment, and intensely mistrust and dislike the Vaers.  One of their greatest insults is “You could have feathers” or “He speaks through a beak.”

They are able to understand all sides of an argument, which makes them valuable negotiators and intermediaries.  Their civilization is advanced, and they appreciate music and art.  They especially value Enif art, having an affinity for the Enif way of life.  (Although there are no same sex marriages on Nephealis)  Their speech is reasoned and sensible and they dislike shows of emotion.  Deference and form is important to them and they expect to discourse uninterruptedly.  It is considered rude to break into somebody’s speech.

Their voices are mellow and almost seductive, and they have all studied logic, ethics, aesthetics and metaphysics.  They are the most knowledgeable species, in general, in the Major Shells.

They are great orators: one of the major entertainments on Nephealis is the “Dialectis”.  This is a competition of Weekly logical argumentation where major philosophical or scientific themes are debated and discussed.  The most successful orators are idolized by the Nepheals, and command huge sums to give an address.  Their libraries and depositories of theses are their most prized buildings. 

Nepheals are very convincing, which makes most of the inhabitants of the Shells tend to avoid meeting them.  They have a way of making other species feel inferior, and of challenging many of the basic precepts other species live by.  Ambassadors of other species on Nephealis have a very high rate of suicide.

Chakrans.  A non-cohesive alien race.  (Cells spread out over a vast area of space. It is not known if they form one whole or various). The Chakrans are non-local entities.  They extend over huge expanses of spacetime, certainly encompassing all of the nearby supershells, at the very least.  Little is known about them.  Cells communicate by quantum entanglement and elective quantum decoherence.  So far they have only communicated with Tyzarans, and then only very occasionally.

The Chakrans communicate non-locally.  They have to, since the distances between them, indeed between their very atoms, are astronomical.  They are true quantum organisms.  They are made up of tiny atoms connected over immense distances.  It is almost impossible for them to communicate with other species, since they are so diaphanous.  However, there have occasionally been Tyzarans who have been blessed with the ability to receive traces of non local communication, and these individuals have sometimes been able to set up a line of interchange of ideas with the Chakrans.  However, these individuals are very, very few and far between, and for many generations were simply thought to be extremely eccentric, indeed, in many cases, deranged.

Chakrans equate lack of heat with the freezing of time.  They like to maintain a sort of stasis between all of their atoms, which helps them to endure over the millennia.  However, recent space exploration of the Major Shells has been disturbing all of local space, especially contaminating it with heat and radiation.  This equates to time disturbances in their local area, and they now need to stop it as it is actually causing their individual atoms to age, and on occasions to move about.

Chakrans are formed of such tiny components that they are also aware of the very fabric of spacetime, something they refer to as the vacuum energy.  They also claim that the passage of large spaceships is tearing apart the vacuum energy and this is breaking down part of the structure of the universe. 

Chakrans can only communicate with aliens if there is a Chakran atom inside the alien body.  This happens by sheer chance, approximately once in every three hundred billion individuals.  In addition, this individual must be Tyzaran for the effect to be noticeable to the alien in question.  Such individuals are known as Chyzars.  The last Chyzar lived over two hundred years ago.

Chakrans, being aware of the vacuum energy, are able to influence it.  They can freeze any relatively small area of vacuum energy, non-locally, which means that any material within that space will remain, effectively, trapped by the blockade.  This is instantaneous, but they can only ‘see’ through their Chyzars.  This is easy for them; communication is not.  They can only give ‘impressions’ to the Chyzars, who must try to interpret such input.  Generally, Chyzars feel the anger of the Chakrans, or pain, or sadness.  They know when the Chakrans are not in agreement with some proposed direction, and they can tell when they are happy with another.  Chyzars are often gifted with a sense of proportionality about the universe, and great insight into its workings.  They are usually heralded as blessed by their fellow Tyzarans.  Not so much from the other races in the Major Shells, many of whom consider the Chakrans to be a convenient made-up bogeyman of the Tyzarans in order to further their own political agenda.

Macers.  An aquatic race that live only on the marine planet Ulon Prime, in orbit around Ulon in the Great Shell.  They eat only kelp which they dry on floating rafts on their interminable ocean.  Their own name for themselves is unpronounceable, but the first visitors who came saw them macerating the seaweed on these floating rafts and immediately called the Macers.  Their ocean is of an almost uniform depth of between 6 to 10 metres.  They are air breathers but possess sacks which inflate around their necks to enable them to stay submerged for up to an hour.  They have four almost identically long limbs, tipped with skeletal fingers and opposable thumbs.  Underwater, they move on all four limbs at once, and their tails help with propulsion.  They would be unable to stand on two limbs as they are far too long and thin for that. To our eyes they appear emaciated and ill.  They are extremely delicate and find it hard to survive outside their salt water “cushion”.  They are, however, extremely intelligent and inquisitive.  They never travel into space. However, in their own habitat they can survive for over a hundred years.

Macers have spidery limbs, small intelligent heads with large curious eyes and a small nose.  They have newt-like tail and four webbed limbs they use to walk along the bottom of the seabed.  They also have long, fingers on all limbs.  These fingers are extremely elongated, with webbing between the first two joints.

Amongst themselves, they talk fluidly using signs.  They have six legs with three fingers and a thumb at the end of each.  Their fingers are constantly in movement as they chatter amongst themselves.  However, since they use the air sacs around their necks, together with artificial larynxes, to speak out loud, their spoken language is slow and tone limited, which dissimulates their natural exuberance.

Macer’s eyes are full of expression, and they also use their heads to express doubt, surprise, and other emotions, tilting them at differing angles.

They feel extremely threatened by alien species, though they accept Nepheals and Tyzarans more than others. 

They are loyal to a fault.  There are no “bad” Macers.  They sacrifice themselves willing for the greater good and perceive their own lives as merely being part of a chain of ancestors, linking to a social “Legacy”.  No Macer would dream of “shaming the chain”, which is their biggest possible insult.  The chain is the personal link, vertically, from the past to the future, whereas the “Legacy” is the way all chains interweave horizontally into a civilization – each chain’s “place” in their society.

Macers are isolationist by nature, but have come to realize that the plexus must participate in the politics of the Shells in order to have a voice and avoid future danger.  They do so unwillingly but with stubbornness.  It is almost impossible to change a Macer’s core values, and they do not believe in compromise.

Special abilities.  Out of the water, their four ‘hind’ legs can be used together to give them a huge thrust; they can jump upwards of eighty metres, clearing large obstacles or difficult terrain with ease.  Their stamina is limited, and they are really too fragile for this to be done safely, but in an emergency they can travel over about a mile or a mile and a half in record speed before needing to rest. 

Geigas.  Alien animals that live in the Polar Shell.  Their home star is Geiga, a bright blue-white star. Geigas live underground, and are blind, but have acute echolocation combined with hyper-developed hearing.  Their bodies are long and almost hairless, but they possess long whiskers or cilia that protrude all over their bodies for up to 2 feet.  They have a huge set of teeth, and can be quite scary.  Geigas, if untrained, can be very aggressive, and some 400 years ago the original Spacelander settlers used them for Mole fighting, a supposed sport that has now been banned for generations.  Originally they were used in uncharted mining to stand as guardians against local predators, as a Geiga can detect movement at over a kilometer.  When alarmed, a geiga gives a particular pinging noise that is quite unmistakable and will always turn to face the danger it detects.  Some Spacelander families still keep Geigas as pets, however, and providing they are given a suitable habitat and enough exercise, the Animal Institute allows this, but their living conditions are frequently inspected.  My pet Geiga is called Scout.

Vaers.  A Spacefaring alien species from the Great Shell.  They come from a planet in orbit around Vaer :  Vaer Prime.  Vaers developed EM travel many many years ago, when resources in their own system became scarce.  They used their spacefaring capacity to raid nearby systems, and they were responsible for almost annihilating the Nepheals for example.  They are predatory and meat-eating.  Their language is generally held to be the most difficult in the galaxy.  It is full of glottalized oral and nasal clicks and stops.  Few other species can imitate their sounds, although the Avaraks are capable of most of them due to their deep range.  Vaers are extremely bellicose. 

The Vaers are descended from a long line of predatory birds.  They look like it too.  They have sharp eyes and sharper beaks.  They are large … about the size of three humans.  They have an imposing look about them.  They believe they are superior to the other species in the Major Shells, especially those that descend from prey animals.  They scorn the Nepheals, who are terrified of them.  For the Vaers, the Nepheals are simply meat on the hoof.

Vaers are intensely proud and haughty.  Their own language is impossible to speak for the other species, except the Avaraks, who can manage most of the glottal sounds.  They attend meetings with the assumption that the other races will translate their language, not bothering to provide themselves with translators of any type.

They do not generally speak at meetings in any case.  They listen attentively, seem to scorn most of the points of view, and can rarely be persuaded to vote on anything. 

They are extremely expansionist.  The nearby worlds are scared that they will use force to impose themselves on planets close to Vaer, forming the long-awaited Vaen Empire. 

Their ships are fast, and much more heavily armed than the rest of the species of the Major Shells.