Here’s the first of a series of posts introducing the world of Line and Orbit and the people who inhabit it – since I think I’ve actually talked very little about that. The worldbuilding in this book is one of the things that we’re most proud of, and I want to talk it up.
First up: A rundown of the various factions and species that show up in the book. Enjoy.
[Image by JazzLizard]
The Terran Protectorate
Originally referring to the planets and sectors of space under Terran control, the Protectorate has outstripped its original homeworld in power and material resources, and taken on a life of its own that belies its name. Earth technically remains its political base of operations, but in name only, with the Protectorate’s ancient executive officers often too senile and too distracted to be much more than figureheads. The real center of Protectorate power is now the planet Kolyma, which boasts the trithosite mines that yield the fuel that powers the Protectorate’s faster-than-light starships and enables the expansion of its borders.
The Protectorate is defined by perfection: perfection in the operation of its institutional bodies, and perfection of its individual members. Every Protectorate citizen receives genetic enhancements while in utero and again after birth—enhancements for strength and intelligence as well as physical beauty. But every utopia has its dark face, made of those who couldn’t measure up and were rejected. And that dark face is slowly turning toward the light…
Nomadic and secretive, the Bideshi left Earth long ago, far longer than any living memory. Since then they’ve wandered the stars, maintaining many old traditions while absorbing new ones. Their culture is deeply spiritual and even mystical in nature, with a strong connection to the stars among which they travel. They love diversity and regard it as one of their cardinal strengths, which sets them solidly against the Protectorate. Despite this, relations with the Protectorate—which regards them with a mixture of fear and contempt—have been essentially peaceful for many years.
It’s easy to dismiss the Klashorg as big, furry green laborers, lumbering and slow-witted—which is often what the Protectorate does. In fact, the Klashorg are possessed of a nimble intelligence and a rich and ancient culture that they nevertheless keep mostly secret from outsiders. They are famous for their intricate and graceful woodcarving, and some whisper that larger and grander examples of that art can be found on their homeworld.
The Klashorg are one of the few species that maintains peaceful relations with everyone in the known galaxy. Most mistake this for a passive nature. In fact, few things could be further from the truth.
Insectoid, smart, but often nervous, the Koticki were long ago colonized by the Protectorate and even now usually find themselves religated to an underclass, employed in manual labor and service industries. They’ve learned that open resentment of this can be dangerous, but even so, dissent simmers below the surface in many Koticki communities. The Protectorate doesn’t know how truly close to uprising the Koticki are. The Koticki would prefer to keep it that way—until the very last moment.
The Kitchit are a subgroup of the Koticki, being smaller and more brightly colored than their brethren, as well as possessing their own distinct language and culture. They are also more fiercely tribal than the rest of the Koticki, and the Protectorate has had unusual trouble subduing some of the Kitchit’s more proactive dissidents.
Sepioid creatures are slender, blue, and squidlike in appearance, their tentacles long ago having evolved into limbs capable of supporting them on dry land. Despite this, Sepians are most comfortable in the aquatic environment of their largely ocean-covered homeworld, and often travel in ships outfitted with huge water tanks for resting and relaxation.
Sepioid culture is primarily based around interstellar trading, and their prominance in all things commercial has made them valuable to the Protectorate—to a point.
Coming up in a week or so: Oh, the places you’ll go.