- The World
Standing straight, erect, walking on two legs, flailing two arms, with a heavy head on their neck, and ambitions that could put a creator god to shame. Humans dominate almost the entire galaxy, or at least the known part of it. They colonized the Hyperborean galaxy thousands of years ago, and have been living on the colonized planets in isolation ever since. As of today, two predominantly human superpowers – the Galactic Federation and the Starlit Dominion – wrestle for control of the galaxy.
There are many theories about the arrival of humans in the Hyperborean galaxy. The most common one is that their ancient spaceships, made of alloy, could not survive the continuous friction of the solar clouds. As a result, they remained stranded on the planets they settled down on. Having no means of returning to space, the human colonies were forced to rely on themselves, totally isolated from others. Over thousands of years, these settlements developed into their own civilizations. Some don’t even remember they came from space.
Humans are the most common species in the Hyperborean Galaxy. They control over 80% of its known territory and are divided into intergalactic superpowers that struggle for dominance. The largest of them – the Galactic Federation and the Starlit Dominion – are locked in a state of cold war. But not all humans belong to either of the superpowers. Some live on remote planets and don’t swear allegiance to any banner. Some rely on piracy or marauding. Some travel across space and trade goods. The relations between humans and other species tend to be complicated. A few decades ago, the Empire of the Holy Lance, the largest human empire, tried to rid the galaxy of all non-human species. On the other hand, it is mostly thanks to other human nations that the Empire was stopped.
Archeologists have found numerous ancient Demiurge murals depicting humans with some kind of magic powers. It leads to countless speculations among scholars, historians, and even various religious groups and conspiracy theorists. The Empire of the Holy Lance was built upon the premise that humans had godlike power once and tried to restore them. Though the Empire is long gone, the speculations are not. Furthermore, the Galactic Federation has successfully created humans with telekinetic abilities by injecting them with siren blood. It might be far from the “god-like” powers depicted on the Demiurge murals, but enough for the galactic superpowers to pursue as a military advantage.
“It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!”
“We make Black Holes shine and glow.”
Coggorts are a race of mechanical insectoids made of metal plates and cogs. They are technologically advanced species of artisans and engineers, who hail from Hyxon, a planet covered with metal plates and hive towers rising up above the atmosphere. A hive tower is a governing unit that presides over a cluster of Coggorts that share a collective consciousness. Coggorts are manufactured at their respective hives, each explicitly created for the position it occupies, with the relevant qualifications ingrained into their minds.
Long before Coggorts mechanized themselves, they were a rapidly developing civilization on Hyxon, already using solar panels to power their hives. Back then, the hives were large corporations that competed with each other by building higher and higher towers. Rubikon, a rich space enthusiast, broke all records by building a tower that rose high above the atmosphere. It was there he discovered that space was full of breathable solar clouds powered by solar energy. Fascinated with the idea of exploring space, Rubikon built a boat with an engine powered by a solar panel. Just as he had anticipated, the boat allowed him to traverse space within the solar clouds. Thus, Rubikon discovered the means of space travel.
Great Galaxy War
With space travel available for everyone, Hyperborea entered a golden age of economic prosperity. Sadly, it was short-lived. Rubikon’s technology was monopolized by different Coggorts. They imposed heavy taxes on solar sails and created a scarcity of them across the galaxy. These changes hit hard on Stygion, the largest human planet in the galaxy, with an economy heavily reliant on space travel. The rising anti-Coggort sentiments on Stygion gave rise to the Empire of the Holy Lance, an empire built on human supremacy. The Empire declared war against Coggorts, and eventually against all non-human races in the galaxy.
When the Empire failed to take Hyxon by force, they filled a spaceship with plague and crashed it on the planet. Some Coggorts, driven by curiosity, inspected the ship and caught the virus. The plague rapidly spread across the planet and wiped out a third of the Coggorts’ population. To save their species from extinction, Coggorts transferred their brains into mechanical bodies, making themselves immune to the plague. However, the procedure turned them into machines manufactured at hives and programmed to obey commands. It was necessary to prevent curiosity – the reason Coggorts caught the plague in the first place.
Government and Society
Coggorts are separated into hives, each governed by a Hive Queen. All Coggorts are built to work for the benefit of the hive. Each of the Coggorts is a cog in the machine, manufactured for a specific purpose and programmed with specific qualifications. Some are created as artisans, some as clerks, some as soldiers, and some as analysts. Coggorts typically resemble bugs – they have two legs and four hands. But depending on the purpose of the created Coggort, the appearance of some Coggorts may change. Every hive makes sure that all of its members fulfill their functions and gets rid of those that fail to do so.
The Flawed Ones
Although mechanized, Coggorts still have biological brains with the “flaws” of an organic creature. Some of them develop a dangerous flaw called “curiosity”. As history has shown, curiosity was the thing that brought the epidemic upon their species. When a Coggort is diagnosed with curiosity, the hive rushes to destroy it. But some of them manage to escape the clutch of the hivemind. They proudly call themselves “The Flawed Ones”. Despite being robots, they open themselves to emotions, pursue knowledge, and develop relationships with different species. With the number of “The Flawed Ones” growing, the hive is actively searching for them across their solar system.
“When The Rock met The Chill, shit has got real.”
“We are all stardust.”
Glyphens are a species of sentient asteroids. Their cores are gas-like substances wrapped in stone shells. Their stone bodies have crystals protruding from them. The stone shell ensures their immortality unless it is destroyed and the gas core is heated. As Glyphens age, they absorb stone mass and become thicker. As such, the older Glyphens are usually the bigger ones. As a species, Glyphens are deeply immersed in philosophy. They often meditate by smoking a gas-like substance and discussing the meaning of life.
According to the Glyphens, there was once a huge lifeless rock known as The Rock. It had been wandering the galaxy without a purpose until it encountered The Chill – a gas-like substance that breathed life into everything it interacted with. The Rock absorbed part of The Chill and gave birth to sentient rocks imbued with glyphs all over their bodies. And so, “when The Rock met The Chill, shit has got real” – a common mantra repeated by the Glyphens.
In their early days, Glyphens used to fight each other, until their planet, The Rock, cracked open. The warring asteroids got exposed to the Raw Chill, a liquid hallucinogenic substance from the core of their planet. It opened their minds and discouraged them from fighting any longer. Two major faction leaders, Stonefather and Glyphmother, declared peace, allowing Glyphens to find tranquillity and live prosperously for years to come. However, the Raw Chill proved too strong for ordinary Glyphens to handle. To moderate its effects, Stonefather and Glyphmother assigned Titans, the largest among Glyphens, to filter it. They would absorb the Raw Chill liquid and exhale the filtered Chill as gas from the geysers on the surface.
Great Galaxy War
Millennia later, during the Great Galaxy War, the Empire of the Holy Lance swiped across the galaxy, infesting the non-human planets with plague. Glyphens feared the Empire would contaminate their Raw Chill reserves. To prevent that, Stonefather and Glyphmother detached a large chunk of the Raw Chill reserves and entrusted it to Geocrusher, another powerful Glyphen. Geocrusher was to safeguard it until the war ended and then return it. However, as the war ended, the wounded Stonefather resorted to slumber to recover. Seizing the opportunity, the ambitious Geocrusher decided to keep the Raw Chill for himself. He turned it into his own pool and transformed it into a harem. As a result, “The Rock” was left with limited Raw Chill reserves, which created a deficit of Chill for all Glyphens.
The Glyphen world is a planet-sized rock with geysers all over its surface. These geysers emit the Blue Chill, which Glyphens inhale to meditate with. Beneath the surface lies the Underworld, a large space with a pool of Raw Chill at the bottom. It’s inhabited by Titans, large Glyphens that absorb the Raw Chill and inhale the gassy Blue Chill. The Blue Chill rises up through the geysers to the surface. Should the Titans come to harm and stop producing the Blue Chil, the surface dwellers would become hungry and aggressive. The entrance to the Underworld is guarded by the Bouldering Brothers, four mighty Glyphens. They won’t let anyone in unless they recite the “Rock&Chill Manifesto”, the declaration of peace written in stone by Glyphmother and Stonefather.
Philosophy and Beliefs
The long and peaceful lives of the Glyphens allowed them to invest in deep thinking and philosophy. The majority of Glyphens are very slow to act. Sometimes, it takes centuries to make major decisions, and that is if everything goes smoothly. Glyphens believe that the main reason for war and conflict is that all living species are in a hurry. It is natural to crave something, to pursue one’s goals, but does it have to be here and now? Glyphens follow the “Rock&Chill Manifesto”, which guides one to be “calm as a rock” and “serene as the void”. But could mortal species, with a lifespan of an instant, afford the pursuit of tranquillity?
“Poor leg creatures. They build ships to mimic a fraction of our power.”
“Our songs are our power.”
Sirens are spacefaring beings with human tops and mechanical fishtails. They possess telekinetic abilities to levitate objects with their minds, and psychic abilities to hypnotize their enemies to do their bidding. Most sirens are wild and hostile and can be found anywhere across the galaxy. They live on asteroids in small communities. Legends say, they sing beautiful songs that charm sailors and make them crush into asteroids. The songs hypnotize their enemies and force them to obey the sirens’ command.
Stygians were the first civilization to develop their own way of space travel. They mixed their own technology with some ancient Demiurge artifacts and turned some of their own people into sirens, humanoid beings with mechanical fishtails and telekinetic abilities. The combination of both allowed the sirens to traverse space. The Stygian authorities wished to create an army of sirens and send them to conquer other planets. However, given so much power, the sirens refused to be the puppets of the Stygian elites and openly rebelled. The Stygians quelled the rebellion and had no choice but to discontinue the technology. Some of the defeated sirens fled to wander into space. Others remained in Stygion as slaves.
The wild sirens live in small communities on asteroids. Their food and supplies come from the unfortunate ships they trick to crush into their asteroids. Apart from food, they salvage metal parts and cogs to enhance their mechanical fishtails. When no ships sail nearby, they spend their free time singing and playing, but mostly in solitude. Sirens aren’t very social. Many of them like spending time alone gazing into the stars. The Galactic Federation regularly catches wild sirens and puts them into their laboratories. The Federation injects its soldiers with siren blood to provide them with telekinetic abilities.
Powers and Physiology
Since they were created via exposure to the Demiurge artifacts, sirens harness their power to replenish and strengthen their own. The most common siren ability is to levitate asteroids or hurl boulders into their enemies. Oftentimes, they launch sound waves, disrupt communications, or cause sailors to act weird. When there is a group of sirens singing in unison, they can completely take over an enemy ship and crush it into an asteroid.
Celestials are wild extraterrestrial species that resemble majestic space butterflies, attracted to light. They inhabit space, as their only nourishment is the solar clouds. Celestials are hunted for their Ichor, a valuable glowing substance used for cosmetics, medicine, and even weaponry. But their majestic appearance might be deceiving – they are extremely aggressive and are capable of tearing a spaceship apart. Especially when it comes to protecting the Celestial young ones from anyone trying to steal them.
For as long as Celestials existed, they lived in harmony with Telossians on the outskirts of the planet Azure. There was enough light for both species to live side by side. But after the Great Galaxy War that shook the planet for years, the light of Celestials dwindled. They became hungry and aggressive. For several years, they had been attacking the Telossian settlements, as the latter emitted light. Telossians retaliated by mercilessly eradicating large numbers of Celestials. Only when Telossians realized they’d brought these magnificent creatures to the brink of extinction, they decided to preserve them and put them into reservations. Telossians placed powerful light beacons outside of the planet’s atmosphere. These beacons attracted Celestials with light, making sure they never looked back at Azure.
As of today, Celestials live in dedicated reservations across the orbit of Azure. The reservations are marked by powerful light beacons – flying islands with glowing trees that attract Celestials with their light and confine them to an area. Trespassing on the reservation is not only forbidden by the Telossian authorities but also dangerous – Celestials would attack anything that emits light. Some use it to lure the Celestials out of their reservations and then hunt them for their ichor. The Telossian authorities have been trying to catch those hunters for almost two decades but to no avail.
“Purity of heart and soil.”
“A good society rests on the shoulders of well-rooted individuals.”
Telossians are sentient human-island hybrids, with humanoid upper bodies that grow like trees from flying islands. These islands are vital parts of their bodies, their sources of life. Disconnecting the humanoid from the island is comparable to disconnecting a tree from its roots. Telossians have full control over their land masses, considering them as an extension of themselves. They possess innate magical abilities, such as hurling magic projectiles, harnessing nature to heal their bodies, and cultivating their own islands with trees in space. Being natural producers of solar clouds and oxygen, Telossians can breathe in space.
According to legends, Telossians were humanoid species that roamed the galaxy in search of sustenance. During their travels, they stumbled upon Azure, a surfaceless planet with blue skies and floating islands. On one of the islands, they found a majestic tree. The tree spoke to them and introduced itself as the Mother Tree. She helped solve their hunger by turning them into humanoid creatures growing from floating islands. This transformation eliminated their need for food consumption, as they drew sustenance from the soil of the islands, just like trees. In exchange, Telossians were bound to maintain “purity in their hearts and soil” – avoid interacting with any living species outside of Azure to prevent the tainting of the soil. The newly formed species called themselves Telossians, which meant “the pure”.
During the Great Galaxy War, Azure was devastated by the mighty fleet of the Empire of the Holy Lance. When Telossians faced an existential threat, The Mother Tree awakened and came to aid her children. She granted them the self-rejuvenation ability, which made their bodies regrow faster without the need for oxygen. It allowed them to breathe outside of the solar clouds without withering or gasping. Telossians used it to their advantage in combat – they frequently attacked the imperial ships and retreated into the void, where the latter could not pursue them. This alone played an important role in defeating the Empire.
After the war, Telossians realized they could use their self-rejuvenation ability to improve the galaxy. They could terraform new areas by traveling outside of the solar clouds and planting new islands with trees. The Farslung Trees, as Telossians called them, were enhanced by the self-rejuvenation ability, and would never wither. They performed the same function as the Coggort Purifiers – absorbing carbon emission and producing solar clouds with oxygen. But unlike the Purifiers, the trees did not require maintenance. Thus, Telossians crushed the Coggorts monopoly on the terraformation of the galaxy. With the ability to create new solar clouds, Telossians became an important political and economic player in the galaxy.
Government and Beliefs
While Telossians can be found all over the galaxy, the majority of them live on Azure, their home planet. Telossians who live on Azure are governed by the Azure Council. They are three powerful Telossians who act as governors and judges, who make decisions by casting their own votes. There are always three of them, which ensures the voting process would never end up in a tie. The members of the Council are the only ones allowed into the Sacred Grove, an area enclosed by large trees, inside which the Mother Tree resides. The Council speaks on behalf of the Mother Tree. According to the Council, the goal of the Mother Tree is to seed the entire galaxy with Farslung Trees and essentially terraform it.
Physiology and Purity
The landmasses of every Telossians grow in size over time. When an island grows large enough, its roots give birth to a new Telossian. When these grow in size, they separate from their parents and become Telossians on their own. Due to their physiological dependence on each other, Telossians must keep their soils healthy. Should their soil be contaminated, it would transmute to other Telossians. When non-Telossians visit Azure, Telossians keep them at bay. Furthermore, it is forbidden for Telossians to leave Azure, unless the Azure Council explicitly permits it. Those who leave must clean their soil before returning home. Those who leave without permission are no longer allowed to return.
The Demiurges were an enigmatic species that left behind a vast legacy of mysterious ruins and artifacts imbued with magical power. Nobody has ever seen a Demiurge in person, but their ruins are adorned with murals that depict every known species in the galaxy, including humans. Some archaeologists speculate that the Demiurges created the galaxy, hence the name “Demiurges”. Despite leaving so many ruins and artifacts, the archeologists haven’t been able to find any Demiurges remains yet. Historians believe that they may have been wiped out during a galaxy-wide conflict, judging by the state of their ruins.
According to the Demiurge murals, it is very likely that they encountered humans. Some murals depict humans as invaders, while others show them as subjects and slaves to the Demiurge. There are murals that depict the Demiurge nurturing humans, and murals that depict humans mastering some godlike powers. While historians do not approve or dismiss any of the theories, it is unclear how the Demiurge disappeared.
Among the legacy of the Demiurge, there are ruins with glowing symbols and murals. Some of these hold immense magical powers, which various individuals have been using to their advantage. The power of those artifacts can be used to strengthen one’s magic abilities, as well as amplify a ship’s weaponry and defenses. But the most common use for such artifacts is selling them on the black market. Pirates and scavengers often make a fortune on these. Surprisingly, the best buyer of them always turns out to be the Galactic Federation. For some reason, the Federation is hoarding those artifacts for some secret studies.
Beliefs and Speculations
The most common legend about the Demiurges is the Legend of Pandora’s Box. According to the beliefs of the Empire of the Holy Lance, based on the Demiurge murals, humans used to have godlike powers once. But then came the non-human races, took away their powers, and sealed them within Pandora’s Box. They warned the inhabitants of the galaxy against opening Pandora’s Box. The Empire, on the other hand, believed that if they open Pandora’s Box, they would get their powers back. But none of the historians has been able to find the Pandora’s Box. The modern consensus is that Pandora’s Box is just a myth.