Iridionians

Militaristic, arrogant, cultured and powerful, the Iridionian Dominacy was, a handful centuries ago, the major power in this spiral arm of the Galaxy. Since then, it has suffered a disasterous war several attempted popular uprisings, a military coup, and pressure from a rival power that have left it teetering on the verge of collapse.

Iridion is a fairly terrestrial world some light years away from Earth, orbiting a mature yellow-orange sun. One large and one small continent (Taula and Netiros) cover nearly half of its surface when taken together. The planet has a range of biomes, from glaciers in the mountains of northern Taula and endless rugged hills and plains in the centre to the vast jungles and low-lying wetlands of Netiros. It has several huge, sprawling megalopoli, home to the industries and military bases that form the core of the Dominacy's power. The groups controlling the resources and businesses are almost always powerful Force Moiety families, and they meet in the Grand Dominion Council to discuss problems and struggle to further their own goals and the objectives of the Dominacy.

Recently, however, the Military Combine, which contains a much higher proportion of the Energy Moiety, has been essentially extorting control from the Council. There is a suggestion that the Combine will only protect the government from the lower classes as long as it keeps passing laws that favour the generals. Thus, the Dominacy has been gearing up for war again, though whether its target will be Earth, one of the other neighbouring alien stellar nations, or its own populace remains to be seen.

Castes & Biology

Iridionian society is unusual for a humanoid species in that it is divided along subspecies lines. The majority of these subspecies have an inherent ability to draw on and manipulate the quantity and flow of energy of varying forms; others can control the fundamental forces of the universe. For generations, the typically more powerful members of the Force Moiety (those that can control the strong nuclear, weak nuclear, and gravitic forces; the 'Electromagnetic' Caste long ago split up and merged with the Energy Moiety) ruled over the others in various tribal or imperial configurations, and gradually the planet moved towards a unified government, though still under Force Moiety control.

Iridionians are basically humanoid, with a number of unusual features. Their general appearance is of a healthy and well-formed human not quite corresponding to any identifiable Earth ethnicity. Those from the huge, open heartlands of Taula are often aquiline-featured, narrow chinned, heavy browed. The coastal mountains of Taula are home to numerous different physiognomies, such as the squat, flat-featured, veiled-eyed people of the north or the almost hexagonal faces of the raw-boned easterners. The other continent, Netiros, his home to far more diverse groups that have been mingling, fighting and interbreeding for far longer, and are too many to list. Their hair colours vary far more than those of humans, taking in all the usual shades along with metallic tints, blues, greens, bright reds and yellows and crystalline hues. Typically, Iridionian hair is straight, thick, has a tendency to stick up from the head in wavy crests and seldom grows more than a few inches in length.

All Iridionians have naturally pale skin, but it darkens depending on how much energy they are absorbing from the environment or direct sources. Dark skin is, therefore, considered a sign of power and status. Iridionians, especially males, sometimes apply subtle tints to darken their skin; female make-up more often runs to complex scents and hair colouration. Iridionians can interbreed with humans. The offspring tend to have slightly weaker powers, and appear as a blend of human and Iridionian features. In the Dominacy, they are considered almost as bad as Undyne; on Earth, they are called potential traitors, freaks, war-spawn and rape bastards.

Force Moiety

Omphalous Caste

Once, the Omphalous, wielders of the strong nuclear force, were the sole ruling class of Iridion. Their powers let them control the very existence of atoms, disintegrating those that opposed them and creating invulnerable forcefields. Though the average Omphalous is stronger than the average Gravitic, the Gravitic still maintain their secret power-enhancing ritual.

Valant Caste

The least understood of the Castes, the Valant have the ability to manipulate the weak nuclear force. This gives them substantial powers of transmutation, as they can stimulate or retard nuclear decay, causing one type of atom to become another. Traditionally, they have acted as bureaucrats and viziers for the Gravitic and Omphalous Castes, enjoying the position of power behind the throne. The Valant also have some kind of powerful symbolic and practical influence over the Radiant Caste, probably due to their control over decay and radiation.

Gravitic Caste

Once the weakest of the Force Moiety, several millennia ago they began rapidly increasing in power. This enhancement seemed to coincide with the arrival of the Sanctuary World to their solar system. The Gravitic Caste started a minor revolution, which ended in a three-way sharing of power between the Force Moiety.

Energy Moiety

The Energy Moiety is more diverse than the Force; there are families or clans with the ability to manipulate just about every form of mechanical and radiant energy conceivable. The following Castes are the most common, but by no means comprehensive.

Electrical Caste

The Electrical Caste (old form: Anbaric) have an affinity for technology, are are often employed as researchers and technicians. Their ability to drain the energy from enemy devices and turn it into deadly lightning bolts makes them useful in the Military Combine.

Kinetic Caste

A rare breed, the Kinetic Caste (old form: Ergostyc) can feed on or enhance the motion energy of objects. This makes them very flexible, and they enjoy an unusual degree of freedom in the Dominacy, often acting as spies, assassins and troubleshooters.

Thermal Caste

The Thermal Caste (old forms: Caldyr and Gellyr) is made from the merging of two castes; one able to manipulate high temperatures and increase them, the other to diminish them.

Radiant Caste

(No old form) A generally weak Caste except under special circumstances, the various septs of the Radiant Caste are able to manipulate different kinds of radiation, from gamma to radio. There seems to be evidence that they can share or shift the specific affinity for this ability amongst themselves, so, for example, a microwave Radiant could lend his affinity for that frequency to an X-ray sept . It is suspected this gift may be thanks to Valant Caste genetic engineering. They are often explorers and trailblazers, finding new worlds and setting up environmental protection systems for later Iridionian colonists, as a group of Radiants can protect themselves from any conceivable radiation hazard.

Spectral Caste

By far the most numerous Caste, the Spectral (old form: Lumysent) control light, and make up the backbone of every profession on Iridion, including the Military Combine. Only a few hard-line 'spectral pride' groups remember the days when they were also the core of the fourth Force Caste, before splitting into a multitude of frequency-septs and been merged with the Energy Moiety.

Other

Undyne

The Casteless. About 1% of Iridionians are unable to absorb or manipulate any kind of force or energy. Pitied and reviled by even the lowliest Spectral, they are used as miners and farm-slaves on the backwater worlds of the Dominacy. They have the same (lack of) rights as any non-Iridionian, and are forbidden to reproduce with members of the Castes. Despite this, every now and then an Undyne is born into a Caste family; usually, they are quickly shipped off and the matter hushed up.

Unity Caste

Until the potentiation of Darrow Sunhawk, the Unity were thought to exist only in ancient myth. They were the living embodiment of the Grand Unified Field Theory: able to absolute control all four fundamental forces. Reputedly (and, if Sunhawk is anything to go by, accurately), this gave them near-omnipotence over the material universe.

People of Note

Archons Sora & Seros

Essentially puppet rulers put into power by the Military Combine, the twin Gravitic Caste siblings Sora and Seros have little authority beyond the day to day running of the government and chairing the Council as joint Archons.

General Tigarian

Supreme leader of the Military Combine, Tigarian is in his own way as brutal as the discredited Avon Starshadow he replaced. Tigarian is the real power on Iridion, and is kept busy by the numerous crises facing him and his world: the fallout of the failed invasion of Earth, the resulting strife at home, troubles with the Ignian Regime, and the increasingly unruly Energy Moiety. He has been resorting to progressively more deadly oppressive techniques to maintain military control, and has been propping up the Force Moiety as it suits him.

Commander Karilis

Karilis is a hard-bitten woman, scarred from years of battle. She leads the Fire Rangers, an elite, semi-secret group of Iridionian partisans, composed almost entirely of Thermal Caste. Their mission is to skirmish along the Dominacy/Regime border and infiltrate planets held by the Ignian Regime, causing as much chaos and damage as possible in order to delay the war that many in the Military Combine see as inevitable.

Lahyn the Insurgent

A charismatic, subtle but ambitious leader, Lahyn is an Undyne born of slave stock. What sets him apart is that he is one of the few Iridionians to have developed superpowers that differ from the common energy control abilities. His telepathy helps him infiltrate and spy on the Dominacy, while his telekinesis lets him pass himself off as Kinetic Caste. His long term goals seem to be to overthrow the oppressive government; for this reason, the Primacy's Space Threat Assessment Group have made contacting him a high priority.

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