User Tools

Site Tools




The Essential Paradise

Taen is ring-shaped megastructure in orbit of the gas giant Illys in the Abrach system. It is approximately 200,000 years old and has a completely self-sustaining habitat. It has vast continents, primarily composed of lush temperate zones, beaches of fine and brilliant sand, low-salinity oceans, and sharp, rugged mountains. Its diameter and rotational speed are such that the gravitational forces experienced by inhabitants near sea level are around 0.8g. Its atmosphere has been configured with various inert or non-toxic gases to create an average air pressure of approximately 101 kPa despite the shallow depth of atmosphere necessitated by the nature of the structure.

Taen's original builders are unknown, and no evidence in Taen's fossil record or explored mechanical infrastructure reveals habitation prior to that of the current inhabitants. The current civilization occupying Taen's surface began as a colonization attempt from a now-forgotten sect of humanity around 5,000 years ago. The colony underwent a severe technological collapse resulting from an overuse of their limited resources. Taen, being an artificial ring, harbors no fossil fuels, ore deposits, or any other materials of use to an industrialized society. Timber, clay, water, wind, and sunlight are, however, very plentiful, and both land and sea are teeming with wildlife. There are few predators, and fewer still are much of a threat to humanity.

Technological Collapse and the Formation of Religions

The colony eventually was no longer able to contact its mother civilization and it rapidly devolved to a medieval level of technology over the course of about fifty years after nearly a thousand as a marginally sucessful spacefaring colony. Electronic records either degraded or became inaccessible, and over time were buried by the tides of nature with the original settlements. The colonial people fractured into feudal city states across Taen's three major continents, Achte, Esck, and Mel. A creationist belief system arose from one of the larger and more successful city-states. The “Cult of the Inventor-God”, as it came to be known, centered around the notion that Taen was a purpose-built paradise and the forever home of the Taenite peoples.

Another religious faction arose over the course of the following few centuries in opposition to this belief, originating in a more barren region at the base of one of Esck's mountain ranges. This movement, known as “The Longing Search”, began as a kind of question to the Cult of the Inventor-God, asking why a perfect god-given paradise of a world should have barren mountains, plains of gravel, and deadwood swamps. Over time, the Longing Search shifted from merely casting doubt upon the more dominant religion to casting its gaze away from Taen, with some of its members becoming canonized as saints for developing optics technologies and mathematical techniques for observing and predicting the motions of the heavens.

What had long since been mythologized by nearly all Taenites as a star was indeed a planet, shining blue in Abrach's light with its vast oceans, and the Longing Search rapidly developed larger and more powerful telescopes to observe its surface. High-ranking clergy of the Cult of the Inventor-God sought instead to maintain the feudal order, quietly fearing what may come of Taenite society and their accumulated power should the Longing Search begin to reach for the stars, and outwardly calling such acts heresy and an insult to their Inventor-God.

Politics, Modernization, and Annular Unification

Through a period that lasted up until approximately 300 years ago, the feudal city-states went through cycles of holy wars and power struggles and gradually stitched themselves into larger nations. With the governments and their people having grown weary of the frequent warring and redrawing of borders, a peacekeeping council was devised where member nations would propose, vote on, and enact policies to guide the development of Taen as a unified world, while retaining varying degrees of autonomy at the regional and local scales.

Over time, the Cult of the Inventor-God shifted its dogma to seeing the wider realm of their star system as their god-given paradise, which gave way to an ease of international cooperation. The Cult and its member nations and individuals sought further wealth and resources, realizing that what could be built of clay, timber, and metal harvested from deep underground (the remains of Taen's colony cities founded some five millennia earlier).

The Longing Search had taken a more humanist and philosophical stance, seeking truths about other worlds for ammunition against the Cult's dogma and finding better places to live for those relegated to the poorer regions of Taen.

About 200 years before the present day, Taen's observatories and stargazers began to spot anomalies passing by their world, or on some occasions, even through the atmosphere. Objects that accelerated and decelerated in a manner rather unlike inert rock or ice or the moons of Illys. While much of society was keen to discredit these events as mass psychogenic events experienced by lesser minds and delusional scientists, there were many astronomers, philosophers, and starry-eyed industrialists who took this as encouragement to begin an effort to leave the ring and intercept these transient extra-annular phenomena.

First Contact, Vassalization, and the Reconsideration of History

150 years before the present day, after a few decades of experimental flights, a Taenite ship launched from Taen's surface, completed an orbit of Illys, and returned safely, splashing down into an ocean and being hauled ashore by a recovery vessel. Over the course of the following fifty years, the Taen Frontier Union was formed from Taen's aerospace engineering firms, some government organizations, scientists, philosophers, and researchers in order to collaborate on a space station orbiting the planet Illys farther out than their home ring.

The transient extra-annular phenomena persisted, reappearing every few months, and the Taenites tracked them. Some attempts were made to intercept and examine them, but all of them failed. It was theorized that they were sensor probes, and public imagination had many hypotheses as to their function.

Approximately 90 years before the present day, mere months after the Illys Orbital Research Station was completed, when it was predicted that another sensor probe would pass by, a spaceship arrived instead, touching down on a long, flat stretch of beach nearest the largest city on the ring, Halymaet, where the headquarters of the Taen Frontier Union was located. It was narrow, sleek, polished to a mirror shine, pointed, beautiful, and vaguely threatening in its resemblance to the head of a spear.

From this ship, to the surprise of the entire world of Taen, emerged humans. They brought translation devices, whose internal datastores and algorithms were seeded by information collected from the probes. These far-traveling strangers were colonists and entrepreneurs from Sfaalic Imperial Cluster with military escort, and they came with an ultimatum:

  • Join Sfaal, with Taen acting as a frontier space station. Receive technological and economic aid from Sfaal and retain the natural state of Taen's surface and some local autonomy, but become culturally integrated with other worlds.
  • Refuse and be conquered or crushed with ease.

With this in mind, Taen's peacekeeping council and Frontier Union organized into a world government in order to integrate with Sfaal, and through this process, came into contact with the little blue planet visible in their night sky, Embrisn, also inhabited by humans, and also now a vassal of Sfaal.

Contact with Sfaal caused a worldwide interdisciplinary tumult, upsetting centuries of study history, historiography, epistemology, physics, astronomy, and faith. The Longing Search pivoted with this change adeptly, with its proponents pushing the faith's long-held fascination with uncertainty and what lies beyond Taen to a fanatical search for the truth of their origins, and those of humanity at large. Across all academic disciplines, debates erupted furiously as to what it all meant, and with Taen's universities coming to exchange with those in the Sfaalic Imperial Cluster, many, but not all, of the gaps in Taen's histories were gradually filled.

Present Day

Taen is now known throughout the Sfaalic Imperial Cluster as the “Taen Orbital Complex”, and its people have undergone a cultural exchange with Sfaal at large. Taenites are seen as something as a curiosity when they visit other worlds in the empire, with many of them having distinctive violet eyes and very little knowledge of geological features. The most significant of Taen's contributions to the Sfaalic Imperial Cluster's cultural exchange is its religious sects. Both the Cult of the Inventor-God and the Longing Search have spread throughout the empire, spinning off denominations and new ideas all along the way.


Taenite Genetic Heritage

The predecessor civilization that settled Taen had introduced genetic engineering to much of its population in order to prepare for a centuries-long colonization effort of the neighboring regions of the Milky Way. These genetic alterations included specific varieties of tan skin, dark hair, and violet eyes to resist ultraviolet radiation and x-ray radiation. Most Taenites have, at the least, one of these phenotypical features. The Taenite peoples have no record of this genetic modification, and believe themselves to be ordinary humans. They managed to thrive on a ring in orbit of a gas giant despite the ever-present radiation due to their genetically-engineered resilience.

Taenite Names

Taenite names consist of multiple parts:

  1. A given name chosen by the parents.
  2. A hyphenated surname consisting of the given names of the parents.
  3. A locational name, which originally would indicate the city-state closest to that of the person's birth, but since the contact with Sfaal has often been replaced by the name of the continent or province where the person was born.
  4. A second locational name, which has come about in the most recent generation, indicating which stellar object (ring, planet, station, etc.) the person was born on.

For example: Metri Vaulla-Hamma Esck Taen. Metri, child of Vaulla and Hamma, born on the continent Esck, ring world of Taen.

Pronunciation Guide

  • Taen: /ˈteːn/
  • Illys: /ˈilːəs/
  • Abrach: /ˈa.brax/
  • Achte: /'ax.tɛ/
  • Esck: /ɛʃk/
  • Mel: /mɛl/
  • Halymaet: /'ha.lə.meːt/
  • Embrisn: /ɛm'bris.n̩/
taen.txt · Last modified: 2021/09/21 00:45 by james