Contact Zero

=The First Encounters=
Before the First Contact, there is Contact Zero.
The galaxy is neither a safe nor a stable place, the milky way has a great many powers spread throught it and countless little planets full of life vying for space in the stars, some say that it's been fully explored, but those people ignore that a single hyperwarp gate connecting the major points hardly makes the the unknown space around them explored. There is still much to be known, much to be found and civilizations to meet.
While there is no such thing as a treaty saying one cannot interfere with an underdeveloped civilization, there are a great many regulations prevent exploitation and punishment is harsh, so explorers are always cautions during First Contact missions, leading to what's known as 'Contact Zero', the first excursions into the planet, undercover, hidden, disguised- Objective? Learn about the people, to ensure a friendly First Contact.

The prospection company Terra Nova has recently assigned one of it's few flagships, the White Fire, to the exploration of a new-found planet with an underdeveloped civilization, but one unlike any other before. Earth brought the concept and reality of magic to the galaxy, and for thousands of years they thought it was the only place it could have been born, and now those who thought so are about to be proven wrong, as the planet of Valkura has been discovered, the second known planet where magic is natural.

You are a team- Perhaps not a crack team, not an expert team, but the lucky ones who were assigned to be the ground team for the Contact Zero mission for Valkura. You work for Terra Nova, and that is definitely not a bad job, be paid to explore the galaxy like wild adventurers, except with a stable job and a a few mining interludes.

=== ===
Party: [Level 23, 134,961,036/138,000 EXP, 2,896 Lucre, 1,192 AP] (24 Jan 2014 pre-session)
<span style="line-height: 1.5;">(Please change the date appropriately if you update the EXP/AP/Lucre.)</span>

Lynne Olren - Magic sword-fighter who seems to be fighting to repay some sort of non-monetary debt.
Fortunata - Element-flipped viera paladin with a penchant for dueling and bravado.
Madeline Hauser - A weathered veteran clad in ultra-heavy armor. Called "Passport Madge" for her travels to just about every post but a command one.
Rohius Nostrum - A mad scientist's experiment who has horrible luck in space travel.

Nicholas Gambin - Summoner who earned his first contract by dying. - Now working on the White Fire
Ray D'Angelo - Young mage out to practice his skills and have fun. - Mysteriously forgotten by the narrative

Logs are available in the Mission Roster
Mission resources are tracked in CZ-Inventory.
Your two friendly locals, the Foreign Flowers

==Campaign Notes==

  • You all work for Terra Nova, but the company's really more about adventurous space exploration than mining. Mining fuels your paychecks, though
  • You all have your own personal weaponry, in fact you all have two weapons, one must have the Ranged property and one must lack it. Your weapons all have an 'active component' that will remain 'sealed', that is turned off, through the game unless you have authorization from the mothership. What it means in mechanical terms is that if command tells you that you can go full force, your weapons are now Tier 8, also considered extremely powerful for cutscene situation. Your weapons are actually arma-grade but not anything super-powerful by space-age standard, Valkurians are just kind of underdeveloped. Those weapons are quite personal, though, so Remodeling System.
  • Valkurians might be underdeveloped but they are extremely potent magicians, so just in case the Eidolon Armament System is avaiable for you. They're warmachines that can be called from the mothership for aid. Yep, Eidolon System. In this case, one of you must stay out while the others pilot it. Whereas the EAS vehicles are company property i'll let the players build them as they wish.
  • You're kind of a mismatched group, or maybe you all fit well. Regardless, you were chosen because it was your turn to play ground team on a first contact mission. That means you're all KIND OF organized but not enough to require organized abilities. Will use Class System, you're specialists in your particular fields
  • One way or another, exploring or mining teamwork keeps you alive, so Reels System for when you need to solve a problem
  • You are not inexperienced. You might lack some degree of experience in this particular mission but you are Level 15 with all the accompanying AP. (I might run this at 1.25x or 1.5x AP gain? It will depend entirely)
  • You will have a 'Mission Roster', a fixed set of missions that need accomplishing in order (although branching paths and side-missions exist). That does not means you cannot simply decide to pick on a loose thread, I can completely add new missions or remove them from the plan as needed.
  • This game will run on Fridays time depends but it's roughly when SW was ran, which was somewhere between 6 PM and 7 PM, it will run when Pandora is not running hopefully me and Cuppa can alternate days, it'd be just great for both of us
  • You are working under disguise, it is very effective and will assuredly fool the eyes, but will only fool touch for a handful of seconds at best

==Valkurian Lore==

The world you will explore. Little is known about it, although some distance observations have been made

Planet is called Valkura, it means “Land of Dawn and Dusk” in the local language, or rather, it’s a weird-ass contraction of the words that mean it.

There is the Shining Plains and the Mist Valleys, different 'kingdoms', or at least the organization of structures and roads appear to suggest. Strong ethereal energy aligned to either Holy or Shadow can be detected in them, the people in them are invariably different but appear to function unusually similarly. Quickly the slang of 'Lightside' and 'Darkside' came up within the science teams of the White Fire before they translated the local name for the two areas.

Even though physically vastly different, the people of Lightside and Darkside seem to have matching or equivalent physique profiles. Each of the different races present has been given a codename by the White Fire's science teams.

Cherub - Small and childlike, Cherubs are strangely resemblant of human children or tarutaru, having the same size range and similar 'adult physique in child proportions' profile, however, they are far more closely resemblant to humans in physical dimensions and proportions. Their skin appears to be smooth yet there appears to be a scale-like texture when touched carefully. They have a pair of wings, colored white, that are not physically attached to their bodies, far too small for any sort of sustained flight or even temporary glide. Despite the lack of physical connection the wings move as if they were, indicating a potential arcane connection. [GM Note: Think akin to a chibi angel anime style, sans halo]

Falkar - Possessed of a quadruped lower body and humanoid upper body, Falkars possess considerably avian features, somewhat resemblant of a gryphon in lower body structure and falcon in head structure leading to their codename. Despite possessing a mane of feathers on their heads, often white but variations of brown also exist, the feathers then two paralel lines through their backs and towards the tail, otherwise the body is covered in thick dirt-brown scales. Their body is very physically strong, muscles obvious in their structure, invariably. Both lower and upper torso possess one pair of wings, large and with pure white feathers. The science team has yet to observe one in flight.

Erynies - Very resemblant to a human, aside from three particular traits. The first is the wings, large and white-feathered. While the wings have a similar size and structure to an Aegyl's signifying it might be useable for flight it obviously lacks flight pinions making it mostly cosmetic, however, Erynies are constantly hovering above the ground, roughly 30cm, as if under a Float spell. The second is that their shoulders has a very thick and metallic scale protusion that at first was confused by the distance observation with shoulderpads, but later shown to be a physical part of their body, which tends to have a deep indigo coloration. The third are two white, semi-translucent tentacles that originate below the shoulder scales, at max length roughly reaching triple that of the Erynies's height. The 'tentacle scarves' as the science team has taken to calling them when resting remain folded and rolled around their necks like a scarf (hence the nickname) with roughly a meter of each one left free behind the Erynies. Observations has shown them utilizing them mostly as sensory organs, although one particular case involving the first ground observation operator has shown that they are sufficiently powerful to strangle.

Lysmaker - Resemblant in physical structure and facial structure to humans, they posses a pair of white wings that appear to be purely cosmetic as they are not capable of flight and four arms. The most distinctive feature, however, is the natural metal plating that covers their hands, torso and head. The metal plating covers the hands as if it were a gauntlet but does not interferes with their dexterity, covers the chest in a manner similar to an ancient breastplate and a grows from the head forming a design akin to a helmet with an avian design, of interest is also that the design of the 'helmet' also possesses eyes through which they appear to be capable of seeing with and can track a different object from the ones in their faces. One observed incident has shown that when the metal plates are cracked, they bleed, making the existance of the strangely designed metal cover even more mysterious as no other known lifeforms with metal coats have blood irrigation on them.

Lightbearer - Very few observations has been made on the ones nicknamed Lightbearers, they appear to invariably be the ruling caste on lightside. Similar to Lysmaker they possess a metal plating reminiscent of armor, but theirs cover not just the upper body but also the lower body, the right hand has a lighter metal coat whereas the left hand has a heavier coat with four metal claws coming from the back, similar to the combat claws used by some martial artists. They possess six large wings with an unusual feather density and a halo of light over their heads. The halo appears to be an actual 'magical circle' type of effect.

Imp - Small and childlike as well, Imps are similar in basical structure to a Cherub. They, however, do not posses wings of white feathers but instead tiny black leathery wings similar in structure to a moogle's. Their skin takes on a very dark and scaled texture cover the shoulders, moving in an X pattern crossing over the chest for females and a straight right shoulder to left middle-chest for males. They also possess a short, flexible tail that ends in a spade, completely covered in dark scales [GM Note: Think Etna from Disgaea]

Berial - Originally confused with a behemoth from long distance observations, Berials are just as muscular as their Lightside equivalent, Falkar, and in fact slightly larger. They have a quadruped lower torso covered in violet scales, muscular and with thick ebon-colored claws and a humanoid upper torso with a pair of horns pointed backward on their heads, also a deep black and their hands possess a unique type of nail closely resemblant to claws but still distinctively different, it does not appears to cause problems when doing high precision tasks. They also possess a thick mane of light brown hair that extends in two paralel lines from the head down to the tip of the tail.

Succubus - Similar to humans in body structure, form and skin texture, first observations surmised the Succubus to be an 'adult form' of the Imp, but that does not appears to be the case. They share a few similarities in bodily structure, mainly the leathery wings (originating on the waist and considerably larger), the similar tails although the Succubus tail is shorter in relation to the body (but same length as the Imp's) and the leather coat they possesses that is considered related to the Imp's scale covering. This leather coat is the primary reason why the race has recieved the nickname it has, it covers the upper torso and groin in a similar manner as a swimsuit would, with males having a slightly different variation from females in that the upper part covers completely the torso down to the sternum rather than simply the breast area. Of note is their capacity to remain constantly afloat akin to the Erynies, capacity that allows them to ignore slopes. [GM Note: Yes, that thing's part of their body, and they DO wear clothes over it]

Skimaker - Possessing a pitch-black and leathery skin, the ones named Skimaker are extremely thin and flexible, possess four arms of normal structure and a third pair of arms that are extremely tiny and at first glance appeared to be vestigal limbs, but further observations has shown that they utilize them for delicate manipulations. Their facial structure is unusual and the science team has taken to describing it as 'born scowling', they posses a pair of very long fangs coming from the upper jaw and a more elongated head due to having four eyes.

Darkbearer - Invariably seen only as the ruling caste, they are very large, easily dwarfing a yeti, posses a pair of large leathery wings that are incapable of flight a face similar to a bovine crested with four horns bending backwards and hoofed feet. Their hands are clawed yet the left hand appears to have much larger claws as well as a stronger muscular structure.

Two interesting deviations from the heavy elemental influence on the races of Valkuria, those two are present on both lightside and darkside.

Grey Men - Humanoid in form, they are considerably tall but have a habit of moving hunched at all times seeming a bit under two thirds of their height. They have a thin and long muzzle and their entire back and the back of their arms is covered in thick and wide scales, colored grey. Of particular interest is that those scales are actively brilliant, they emit light and it does not appears due to bioluminescence. They also possess similarly colored claws, long and sharp, in their hands. Up to now observations of Grey Men have been very rare as they are uncommon and elusive.

Children - Vastly similar to your everyday human, they have skin tones ranging from a dark gray to a shiny silver. They are a little bit short, their fingers are longer than that of a human's and possess very small claws, despite appearance their hair is actually chitinous and their skin has tiny, thin and nearly invisible vestigal scales. Observations made by the ground agent sent to gather sound data for language decoding has shown that this appears to be the infantile form of all the races.

==Galactic Lore==

Whereas not much from beyond Valkura's atmosphere will present a great problem for the party, knowing what place you live on, who you are and where you came from is important, same as is knowing the science and physics behind things.


Basic Timeline -
This timeline pertains everything in the bigger metasetting. Be warned.
About 3000BC - The Human Scourge happens
About 2007 - CSA:A happens
About 2006 - Rediscovery of Astral
About 2335 - First starship with crew crosses the border of the Oort's Cloud, has contact with Ilirians
About 2460 - First exploration fleet reaches area where previous contact with Ilirians happened, the Three Way War begins (a confusing two-year-long scuffle between Ilirians, Earthlings and Kivarans caused by the Ilirian border fleet striking the earthling exploration fleet, who not knowing how to wage war in space proceeded to engage all vessels in range, including a Kivaran fleet. By the end of the conflict peaceful relations had been formed with the Kivarans)
Nothing happens far too fast from here on, Earth is still mostly isolated as no actual alien ship can cross a mysterious boundary set by the Oort's Cloud without suffering a complete breakdown and Earthling ships are simply not fast enough to cross the vast distances of space. A handful of colonies exist in isolated environments nearby the border with Kivaran space.
4326 - Colony ship Conestoga launches, it's innovative Gate Drive is meant to be capable of jumping immensurable distances instantly. Gate Drive is proven to be extremely unreliable in actual galactic distances, Conestoga never heard of again
4327 - Ilirians develop the Dark Energy Collector technology, unknown to them their first semi-magical technology, essentially a Runic system. Deployed in the test battleship Alkasha. Technology does not handles well with their standard hyperspace drive, causes catastrophic failure leading to the Alkasha being whisked away at random, technology decided to be not worth pursion.
4332 - Conestoga and Alkasha, both sent hurtling away in a teleport incident, meet up on Tempestaria's orbit as the planet is a dimensional basin (places where things scattered directionless in teleport incidents end up). Conestoga crashes into Tempestaria and the Alkasha's D.E.C. interacts with the gathered storm in the planet, haging it in the sky. Split World's ancient people begin existing.
4346 - Warp Drive developed on Earth, more reliable version of the Gate Drive. First explorer ships with them are successful, eventually they re-meet the now larger colonies in the Kivaran border. Technology exchange occurs, allowing some measure of inter-system grade information exchange.
4367 - Eventual creation of the Hyperwarp technology by Earth/Kivara cooperation (in reality it was created by a group of earthlings and illirian traitors), pinpoint perfect instant travel over any distance inside the galaxy, also capacity to maintain open gates. Creation of currently existing stellar highways and the starnet starts.
4412 - First Thunderfall witnessed in Tempestaria. The Conestoga's AI Phoenix creates the Life Restoration System, SW setting as it is starts existing.
5164 - Creation of the research ships Oran Reinis and Cairn Reinis to extra a portion of Earth's innate magic and try to ascertain the reason of it's existance. Turns out that any attempt to extract even a fraction of that energy leads to a massive energy eruption that has been observed reaching the outer limits of the galaxy. Temporary repurposing of the Oran research ship as dreadnought-class battleship and the Cairn as a deep-space exploration vessel.
5183 - First contact with the Agemo by the Cairn Reinis. Short scuffle ends with the Cairn using a prototype gravity control system to devastate the entire battlefield, including itself. Only five people of the entire thousand-strong crew are left. Cairn's survivors are reassigned to the Oran.
5223 - O.R.D. Happens
5232 - Official crowning of Kolitk as Earth's new King
5267 - SW Happens
5272 - Creation of the United Expeditionary Force by Tempestaria
5289 - Contact Zero Happens

===Galactic Powers===

Earth Empire - Consists of Earth and it's colonies, led by the king Kolitk, a mithra (who's not native to earth). Succession is decided by who the King decides is fit to succeed. The Earth Empire has small colonies spanning roughly 'everywhere', Earth's people are not picky about where to live. Earthlings are also the most powerful and most advanced magicians right now, but their technology is still centuries below that of Kivarans and Ilirians. Earth itself and it's vincinities are protected from any and all enemy attacks by nature itself, only magically-adapted equipment actually works around it due to an effect called Mana Cloud.

  • Culture: Earthling culture is very unique, it has been shaped by a very particular aspect that is unique to them: healing magic. The impacts of the low relevance of wounds and the capacity to revert even death to an extent has caused a culture that accepts and incorporates violence and fighting as part of it. However, Earthlings are by nature pacifistic, what might at first seem at odds with their liking for violence. For them, combat is a sport and an art, and usage outside of those is heavily frowned upon, legal penalties over annihilation (death beyond recovery by magic) start at life sentence and get worse from there. Earthlings are also very competitive, an Earthling will always be up to see who's best at something with a friend or might resent a person who's much better than them at something, and are also incredibly diverse and accepting of differences. Unlike every other known planet as of now, Earth possesses such an incredibly diverse amount of vastly different sentient races, not even species, races, that they have a hard time seeing physical difference as a factor in social interactions. The common sports on Earth are Duelling (All-out fights, be it between individuals or between teams, all variations from simple victory to objective-completion. Killing the opposition yields victory but on tournaments it great damages your overall standing) and Forceball (Similar to soccer, although usage of magic and fancier moves is allowed, baseline whatever crazy move you perform must strike the ball and not touch another player. There is also a limit to the amount of energy that can be channeled at once to prevent players from moving into combat magic territorry)
  • Military: Earth's military is divided into the Starforce and Army, the Starforce being their stellar combat forces and the Army being their planetary combat forces. Army forces have their own spaceships but they are mostly designed for infiltration and exfiltration. Earth's technology is centuries behind the other powers, that might be true, but they are also the only ones to fully master magic and this has given them uncommon advantages over the others, the first of which is their endurance in battle, between healing and repair magitek and the fact that their ship and weapons run mostly on magicite (a 'crystal' that contains ethereal energy in vast quantities in a very small volume, even low-yield magicite is a better storage than the best ion battery) makes sure that whatever combat they enter, they're in for the long haul. In addition, their shielding magitek is far superior to currrent forcefield tech, the enlacing of their armor also makes it very difficult for solid weaponry to pierce their armor and only Kivarans currently have technology to defend properly against ethereal attacks. That said, Earth's armed forces are simultaneously the strongest and weakest of the current galactic powers. Their standing forces are, despite being expertly trained and very well equipped for the galactic standard, very small and only cover a small portion of the current imperial territory leaving much of it exposed. And that is where their trump card comes from, Earth's true power comes from it's militia. Referred to as The Sleeping Dragon, due to cultural effects anyone who threatens an earthling colony can expect a militia of equal power (and often superior in number and strength) to their armed forced to spring up, earthling mercenaries also abound, roughly on a 3:2 relation to their armed forces.
  • Relations: "Fighting is for fun, and only that" is a good way to explain how the Earth Empire deals with the other powers. They prefer talking and negotiation over armed conflict, although anyone doing diplomacy with them better be warned that the interplanetary equivalent of 'a friendly shoulder punch' IS to be expected, although neither the previous king nor the current are ignorant to the fact that is not a very acceptable diplomatic measure, but it does serves as a deterrent. A particularly interesting note about earth politics is that quite often the king will directly intervene when force is required, often single-handedly dealing with entire platoons, to make it clear what each and every earthling can do (truth is that there are quite a few artifacts in the king's possession specially crafted for those displays when they are nescessary, but they are a secret)

Ilirian Dominion - The Ilirians are a species of water-native humanoids, they are the most agressive of them all, the Dominion has been on a quest for conquest for thousands of years, a nation that survives by eating others, a predator. However the Dominion has been facing troubles in the form of the Earth Empire, not even the best of their armies can handle the hornets's nest that is an earthling colony that has took up arms, and the combined strikes of earth's and kivara's starforce has been keeping their forces extremely surpressed. Add to that the rebels that have been cropping up (reportedly due to Earth's meddling, it's no surprise that Earth has been running an attempt of a cultural takeover, hell, rather than picturing Ilirians as 'The Enemy' in their movies and art, lately there have been Ilirian HEROES in earth's art and they are often pictured as a noble people under a tyrannical ruler, even if that is not exactly the case) and the Ilirians are searching now for anything, anything that can give them an edge.

  • Culture: Extremely militaristic and opressive, Ilirian actual culture is a bit of a mystery as they are also very isolationist and do not allow any information about their people to leak. It's known that their warriors are extremely loyal and willing to put country above all else. That said, they're not a people of mindless zealots, no matter what their government wants people to think. It's known that there are quite a few revolutionary groups going on in their homeworld and colonies are stories about Earth and Kivara harboring people feeling from Iliria are common, but none official acknowledges them.
  • Military: From a standpoint of training, they are the best there is in the galaxy, loosing in the technical aspect only to the Kivaran Alliance. It's a common belief among military scholars that had the Ilirian military not decided to scrap the plan that would eventually lead them to discovery the usage of magic on their own, they would be an undefeatable foe. However, without the ability to face off against a Kivaran fleet without resorting to clever tactics and the element of surprise due to technical inferiority nor to face off against Earthling militia's sheer numbers and firepower, they often find themselves locked without the ability to advance short of a concentrated strike.
  • Relations: "Not good" is a very good way to describe. Their are a nation that survives by eating other nations, and have made enemies of everyone they meet. Sadly, until the Earth Empire came to be, the only ones that have not been subjugated by them were the very ones that taught them how to fly the stars, the Kivarans. That said, there exists a very large campaign being led by the Earth Empire in portraying Ilirians as a suffering people under a tyrannical government that has been having quite a bit of success, further bolstered by the existance of 'Seafarers' on Tempestaria.

Kivaran Alliance - The third large 'empire' out there, although it's not an empire and it's a democracy instead. Kivarans are large taur-like insectoids native to a desertic planet. They are by nature slightly timid and very prone to taking a diplomatic approach, they have a large respect for scientific approach and are literally the oldest known starfarers. Whereas they have not directly uplifted any known civilization, there is influence of them everywhere within the radius of their exploration. Note taken that they are not the most expanded of the powers, their original hyperspace technology had limited range in relation to current hyperwarp (they do utilize hyperwarp now though) and they are somewhat more vulnerable to bad planetary weather than earthlings (who often can count on their magic in those situations). Kivarans are dangerous, however, during a small period of three days every month they are overtaken by a deep desire to hunt down and eat any living being around them that isn't a kivaran, a period called Hunter's Moon. This is related to periodic hormonal changes in the body related to reproduction, while there is a vaccine known as 'Moon Tears' in the popular, due to the Hunter's Moon being tied to their reproductive hormones continuous usage of Moon Tears leads to infertility.

  • Culture: One of the two democratic states of the galaxy, the kivarans are generally the most pleasant people to have around. Being natives to a really harsh climate where survival has always been difficult they appreciate hospitable people and are hospitable in return. Politeness is specially appreciated though they are not particularly ritualistic. Kivarans also enjoy the company of people, something that their Hunter's Moon is deeply at odds with, and prefer taking diplomatic approaches, they have over time absorbed and adapated portions of every culture they have met up to now, including the earthling secrets of magic and even a portion of ilirian discipline. Despite their vastly pacific nature their favorite sport is wrestling, though that's probably from influence of the vastly more violent species in the galaxy.
  • Military: All three of the great powers have unique particularities in their armed forces that keep them in level, while Earth's forces have the ability to suddenly swell up in numbers and power and Iliria's forces have the most skilled and ruthless soldiers, Kivaran forces are armed with simply the most advanced arms and armor. They are the oldest species out of all the starfarers and their technology is suitably advanced, not just that but they have fully incorporated earthling magic into their technology and usage of magitek is common in their starships. They have, however, one very particular achilles heel, for three days every month, their entire force enters a dormant state, having your entire armed forces fall prey to Hunter's Moon is definitely not good for peaceful relations so during those three days all of their forces are disabled, with a small exception. A small patrol force known as Reapers, quite literally the best armed and best trained Kivaran forces. As the Hunter's Moon does not saps them of intelligence, the Reapers are always deployed strategically to defend their dormant forces during those three days, but also in a way that no sane commander would allow them to deviate from their mission to hunt, trapping them in their mission.
  • Relations: Kivarans have great relations with everyone, even in the past with the Ilirans as they were the first starfarers the Ilirians met and there was some undisclosed fallout that happened later. Rarely at the front of any action, they are also always present as advisors in international ventures. While the Hunter's Moon certainly puts a few bruises in whatever international relations they form they seemed to have found a perfect partner with the Earth Empire, to whom a few harmless border skirmishes serve only to further strengthen alliances.

Silver Alliance - Named after the old nickname for Nova Terrans, 'Silver-eyes' (originally those affected with the Chained Beast developed silver-colored irises), the Silver Alliance is compromised of New Terra and Tempestaria, two extremely unusual planets tied up in an unusual way. New Terra is technically an earth colony, it is the descendant of the original Conestoga, but the planet is now overrun with (friendly) 'nanomachines' known as Chained Beast. It faced a grey goo scenario in the past. Tempestaria is an underdeveloped planet that resides within the single biggest thunderstorm of the known universe, yet is completely safe within there, and they are descendants of those who fled New Terra in the ancient cataclysm as well as a crashed Ilirian ship. Tempestarians are also affected with a type of 'nanomachine' called Angelic Blight. The natives of both planets are often unwelcome in the galactic populace due to people's mistrust of their nature and thus the planets banded together. Whereas they are not technically worthwhile powers in the galaxy, the unique goods they produce have made them very important. A lot of the Earth Empire's culture has been leaked into the Silver Alliance culture, as they are descendants.

  • Culture: A vastly different culture exists in each of the planets of the Silver Alliance. New Terra has a very spastic and disjointed culture, being a very new planet whose populace had less than a century to consolidate and accept themselves as a different species from their progenitors. They are still in a constant struggle to discover what really is their own culture and what differentiates them from Earth, aside from the Chained Beast. Meanwhile, Tempestaria is an underdeveloped planet with many more thousands of years of history than it has of existance, their culture was uniquely shaped by the Thunderfall, something which happens every few hundred years in the planet which essentially completely annihilates all life in the surface, and it is subsequently completely rebuilt by the Life Restoration System, up until twenty years ago each such cycle erroneously generated 'artificial' history. Many still do not believe in the existance of space and many more still worship the two fallen battleships which maintain the Life Restoration System as if they were goddesses.
  • Military: Tempestaria has essentially no starfarer armed forces worth of note, however, they do have a planetary defense system. Constituted of a variety of defense stations and fighters bought from private corporations or given to them by New Terra, the United Expeditionary Force almost exclusively maintains the safety of the area above the storm in Tempestaria, ensuring no-one is crazy enough to attempt entrance in the planet outside the safe zones and that none of the thunder miners disturb the storm too much. The UEF is a very particularly unskilled group given the planet's level of technical advance, however, they are particularly capable of channeling the 'favor of the goddesses', in other words combining their Angelic Blight and the energy output of the storm to power their weaponry, giving them an edge in the rare case they need. New Terra, on the other hand, has a more well-estabilished and traditional armed force, their starforce is very small, barely enough to guard their own territory plus a little additional defense forces lend to Tempestaria. However, New Terra itself is a fortress planet, anything that attempts landfall can and, if required, will be completely annihilated by the Chained Beast that permeates the planet, making it absolutely safe from direct invasion. New Terra's starforce mostly has all of it's strength housed in the Star Knights, a group of elite individuals capable of utilizing it's Chained Beast to literally transform into their starships. They are also capable of combining into the nova-terran flagship "Gallant Knight", which is often seen leading whatever operation their starforce does distant from New Terra.
  • Relations: People fear the Silver Alliance. They're not conquerors, they're not agressive, in fact they are more akin to bumbling children taking their first steps, yet people fear them deeply. That reason lies in the Chained Beast and Angelic Blight, nanotechnology is not really that advanced and both are pieces of O-Tech, people are afraid that someone from the Silver Alliance might suddenly go berserk and destroy them all. That fear has severely stained their relations with the other people. While on a government-to-government level people are sufficiently educated to know that there is no factual danger, when it comes down to personal relations a 'silver-eyes', as the slang goes, is often prejudiced against. That said, both planets produce extremely valuable goods that are often in high demand. New Terra's most sought-after goods are the nano-manufactured goods, objects built with near-molecular level of perfection and Tempestaria's 'thunder mining' operations are famous. There is not a single starship in the galaxy who haven't been fueled energy that has been siphoned off Tempestaria's storm, there are various 'thunder mining' stations floating close by the storm, draining the infinite electrical energy present within it and siphoning it into a variety of storage devices, from magicite to plasma cells.

Mithran Association - Not really a government and more like a huge coalition of all sorts of enterprises and companies. As current galactic treaties are set, a government only has any rights over anything in a colonized planet in case someone from that government is present in the group that found the planet. Essentially, all the laws of the involved governments apply to the explorers, and other governments do not have right to interfere in how things happens if none under their wings was a participant of the exploration. Of course, there are certain caveats involving multinational companies extending the rights of exploration of a planet or resource to all the governments in which it has HQs, and the Mithran Association capitalizes on that. Initially formed by a group of mithra who wanted to ensure the future rights of the still-tribal Amazonia in space colonies by having an almost negligible but still legally sufficient presence in explorations, the group started to grow and take under it's wing every single planet and populace that is underdeveloped or otherwise unable or unwilling to officially launch into the stars, taking in private companies and turning itself into the single, largest, multinational trade company in existance. Now they are a bit of a plague, everywhere, EVERYWHERE there will be a merchant from the Mithran Association, specially exploration missions.

  • Culture: A big ass trading company, they're actually a little bit gypsy-like. You'll find them everywhere, selling things, buying things, trading things, shows, whatever venture there is where there is money and, more importantly, exploration, you will find them. As diverse as the groups that are part of it, the Mithran Association can't be said to have a culture per se, but has representatives of all sorts of cultures.
  • Military: Only if you count the clans they hire for defense.
  • Relations: Halfway between a plague and a blessing is how they're treated. Those merchants are just everywhere, everywhere at all! Including exactly when you need them, more than one exploration mission has been saved by timely intervention of the Association's resources.


Magic - The simplest way to explain how magic works starts with a small lie. Imagine a mirror world, an ethereal counterpart to our own world. What happens in one is reflected in the other. That is how the Material and Ethereal realities connect. If a material body, say a rock, is moved, it's ethereal half is moved as well. And if you move the ethereal half of a rock, it's material half will move as well. Same goes for everything and every reaction, if you transform a rock into a sword, it's ethereal half will become a sword, if you transform the ethereal half of a rock into water, the material half will follow suit and turn into water. That is the simplest way that how magic works is explained in pre-school, and still the easiest way to teach it's very basics to anyone out there and contains only one lie. The lie is that the 'mirror world' does not exists, the ethereal counterpart mentioned is actually energy, which exists in the same space and same time as the material body.
Due to it's nature, ethereal energy is impossible to notice without specially-built equipment, making it's discovery by any civilization (if the Kivarans are any proof) a long and difficult process that might never occur in first place. With one particular exception: Planets with a natural magical nature. Certain planets (currently only Earth and Valkuria officially, rumors that the Agemo homeworld as well) have a mysterious capacity to store magical energy in themselves, the origin and workings of a celestial-scale magical storage object such as those are still subject to study but their existance is obvious, and in planets such as these when life develops, it is particularly attuned to their own ethereal energy and in turn are naturally capable of noticing it, earning the ability to utilize magic far before they have mastered simpler concepts of material science. This has led to a particular rarity in magic, as it is only Earth (and it's decendants, the Silver Alliance) possesses advanced magic and the other civilizations that currently utilize it have learned from them.
Magic is the control of the ethereal energy of your surroundings through usage of your own ethereal energy, in particular through the voice and body movement. Ethereal energy exists as a waveform, and as a waveform it forms fields as well. Whereas the voice is not the most effective of controlling ethereal energy (magitek devices are far more effective) it is the simplest and most natural manner in which a living being can control this energy and alter it to generate magical effect, although physical movement is a close second and often a powerful additional component for more complex magical effects, this has led to song and dance becoming fairly important for spellcasters as a whole and, given the role that magic plays in earthling society, important for them.
Just how electrical fields are generated with wiring, magical circles can generate ethereal fields which, in turn, are the most basic form of applying a magical effect, hence why magical circles are very common among casters. A magical circle is commonly built using some sort of ethereally-conductive material to control the fields, although often a mage will wield sufficient energy in his spells that a magical circle will 'form on it's own', what is truly happening is simply the ethereal field he has generated causing an incandescence effect similar to a magical circle.
It is nescessary to remember that ethereal energyforms posses a property similar to potential energy, a variation within it's own internal values, this ethereal potential energy is called either Mana or Life Force, depending on what it is associated to. Life Force is particular form of Mana of a living being, directly tied to their Anima's, their soul, capacity to maintain it's integrity and normally not what a mage utilizes as energy to cast spells. Those who actually have the skills to manipulate Life Force and, to a degree, Anima, are called Thaumaturges. Forbidden Thaumaturgy, the manipulation of life force and anima beyond all safety levels and sufficient to kill someone, is a capital crime and punishment ranges from life sentence to death.
Incandescence is a term used to refer to wasted ethereal energy, energy that is not direct towards the spell's object but rather simply lost as brilliant, secondary useless effects.
Magicite is what is called any object with a crystalline molecular structure capable of storing ethereal energy, the energy is contain within the spaces between atoms in the crystalline lattice, being released when it breaks or when coaxed out by external force. Magicite is reffered to by the material it's made of such as salt-magicite or iron-magicite. The one commonly reffered to simply as 'magicite' or 'pure magicite' is actually an unusual relative of cubic zirconia that is always found only in magicite form, different from other magicite minerals, this one forms when sufficient ethereal energy is gathered in a single place, causing it to crystallize in material form. The term 'pure magicite' is erroneous, however, as this form can be created by a different form, although it required either advanced equipment of really arcane and uncommon natural situations, and when formed like thus it has the property of drawing in all surrounding ethereal energy to charge itself, being called nethicite.

Weapons - Before the Earth Empire started to become a common presence in the galaxy at large, carrying weapons was a very big deal, but earthling culture has a special place for weapons. They cherish fighting in a friendly manner and are used to healing magic being there to seal all wounds, duelling is a national sport (full force fighting, arms and armor), and space had never been a fully safe place to begin with, so due to their influence it has become far more common to go around armed, certain weapons have even turned into fashion.
Weapons are divided into three larger classes. "Duelling" weapons are those that civilians are allowed to have, they might be powerful (some of the most powerful weapons of the galaxy ARE in this class) but in the end they are mass-produced with a loss in quality or home-made relics. "Arma" weapons are military-grade gear, by default they are very powerful, built to be capable of being mass-produced without loss in quality and always operate at maximum efficiency. "Relic" weapons are very special, they are incredibly powerful, capable of turning the tides of any local conflict and some even of an entire war (at times they only have the face of it and not the actual power, the Testament To Regicide for example). Of course, wielding a weapon without the required license is illegal, even if acquiring a license is very easy. Of particular note is that those with a Relic-class license need to keep the authorities and law-enforcement agencies posted on their current position at all times, to wield a power this great is kind of limiting on your freedom.
Normally, engagements are at range, guns are reasonably simple to build and require far less training to wield properly than melee weapons as well as having the advantage of range itself. That normality, however, is broken when earthlings come into play (or anyone else trained to fight like them). Due to the special property of 'enlacing' that earthling weapons have (when an object is manufactured if you are not careful you will cause damage to it's ethereal half, severely weakening it in case it has to contend with anything that inflicts ethereal force, an object is considered enlaced when it's ethereal half is intact) swords and fists are just as effective as beam guns for them and in fact easier to train on. To properly utilize enlaced gear you need to learn to apply not just your material body's strength to it, but also your ethereal body's strength to it, and ranged weapons, particularly those who do not have the projectile having direct contact with the wielder's hands, have more difficulty of transferring the ethereal component of the applied forces without the aid of the wielder's, requiring more intense training for that.
While duellists and other weekend fighters tend to carry just their particular weapon of choice, those who make a living from their armaments are wise enough to never be caught unable to fight at a particular range, it's common to have an all-range approach to the equipment you carry, bringing along a ranged and a melee weapon of choice. Ways to do so are as varies as there are people, the simplest method is that of simply carrying both and switching as needed, another common method is that of dual-wielding, carrying both weapons simultaneously and employing them at the same time, wasting no time to switch between fighting stances and holstering weapons for a faster response (who in this style often also apply point-blank shots and weapon throwing as part of their fighting style). Another method that is more common in the military is usage of folding weapons, constructed primarily as a heavier ranged weapon such as a rifle, they possess simple folding components that transform them into melee weapons fluidly during the attack motions, also being able to just as fluidly switch back to ranged mode as part of the normal movements required to fire properly, and also a style that is slowly becoming less used is the usage of hybrids weapons, those who possess both ranged and melee forms embedded in a single fixed frame such as gunblades and canoneer staves. Then again, there are also the more exotic styles like remote-controlled bit weapons, you can never underestimate people's ingenuity.
Save for a few Relic-class weapons, armaments tend to have an 'active' component, that is, it requires energy to function at top capacity, even melee weapons. Be it the energy coat of a sword, the ion barrel of a gun or the saber of a plasma scythe (for those who favor fancy weapons over functional ones). Thankfully most of those active components are built either to consume very little energy to maintain themselves or they draw on the wielder's mana reserves, and no professionally-built weapon would be useless should their active component fails, they are all built to ensure suitable results even should it be damaged.

Comm Drivers - Your usual everyday portable computer/communication device is commonly called Comm Driver or CD. They come in all forms and types, from the wrist-mounted ones to the more esoteric spirisign design. Comm Driver batteries can be recharged through various means, but they all have a backup charge mode that draws from the user's mana pool.
A Comm Driver's computer half is usually only average to weak, although people such as clansmen and the military often employ comm drivers with far more robust and capable processing power and often employ them as a FCS. They have all sorts of avaiable interfaces, the most common and famous is the wrist-mounted displays, they are a little bit bulky but nothing cumbersome. There are also other interfaces such as the floating screen interface (which uses projected displays around the user, normally used more by combatants who use them as a form of HUD and researchers due to ease of finding data), the interface system used by the Silaris toolset (combining the holographic overlay of the screens with gravity/telekinesis enchantments to control the tools), the Spirisign mage aid (utilizes support enchantments such as protect and shell spells as the projection base, usually used as a spellcasting aid).
The communication half of a comm driver is heaavily dependant on how much the user is planning to spend, normally they only have transmission capacity to local antennae planet-side, but more robust models are capable of using direct sattelite contact and the more high-end models have direct hyperwarp connection to the central phone systems (that's a huge battery hog, however).
Comm Drivers with more powerful CPUs or better transmission methods are invariably larger, but they are often work as accessories such as bracers or belts.

Odd bits of technical data can be found here: O.R.D World

===Terra Nova===

Terra Nova is, in theory, a mining company. In practice, it's an exploration group. Created a long time ago by a group that needed a good excuse to have official backing for going into deep space exploration missions, Terra Nova's only reason for not monopolizing the mining business is that the wanderer spirit permeates every aspect of the company.

Normally seen scouring the edges of known space, the Terra Nova's Mining Ships are a sight to behold, far larger than a carrier but still smaller than a mothership (which is a capital-ship carrier) they are of modular construction allow the ship to quickly change it's mission assignments which can vary, they can contain agricultural modules that can maintain a small deep space exploration team for a very long time or food storage modules that can keep a very large mining crew up for long enough to strip an asteroid field bare, they can have large ore canisters for storing metals taken from asteroids or various labs for studying a newly-found planet. And the ship given to this mission is the famous White Fire, the seventh out of twenty Mining Ships of the company, the White Fire has a long history including of being rebuilt from the ground up as it was part of the fleet that first made contact with the Agemo alongside the Cairn Reinis.

The way that Terra Nova operates can be said to be very simple, scour space for a hospitable (for their standards, which are very damn low) planet, make landfall with a small temporary mining colony, establish minor infrastructure so that the colony can grow, invite other companies and people to take residence and pass on their structures and entire colony off to someone else, packing their things and moving to the next planet to find. Or in case the planet does have natives, they have a very thorough First Contact protocol to follow.

====White Fire====

The White Fire is led by Expeditioner Kalinos, a laid-back ronso with an eye in the long run, he takes things slow and prefers to always take the cautious approach. Most people think he's wise, he admits that he's both lazy and coward, though. The White Fire also appears to fly by itself with no nescessary interference from the bridge team, but that is because of a prototype piloting system called DFL System, the White Fire's pilot is called Hiero, although nobody really saw his face hearing his booming voice through the intercomm during lunch break and in the bridge is very common.

Ground Team - The Ground Team is the team in charge of contacting the locals, making peace with them, gathering information so that their culture may be learned and whatever else might be required on the ground. This is the party.

Raphael 'Raf' Nates - A middle-aged tempestarian human with violet hair and an eyepatch over his matrix eye, Raf is an expert infiltrator and also very skilled in data gathering and collation. Actually was the first one to make landfall, in charge of gathering sound data to start decoding Valkurian language he has been on the ground for a handful of weeks prior to the rest, mostly sleeping in the wilds and working under cloak. Once the entire team is assembled his duty is keeping a hidden eye on whatever city the party bases itself on for information as well as organizing and preparing mission data.

Science Team - Led by Alicia Simonov, an elvaan with a heavy russian accent and thrice heavier coat on at all times, the science team is in charge of any and all research that requires to be done, they possess high-end facilities in the White Fire. They're equipped to remotely monitor the party through equipment the ground team carries. Other notable members of the science team are Julius Evit, a tempestarian seafarer of very unusual intelligence and knowledge, and Koutaro, a rather hyperactive creimire known for sudden streaks of brilliance, high disregard for order and command and his nerdlyness.

Subsistence Team - Under the wings of the Subsistence Team are those who keep the White Fire's occupants alive, they are officially led by a Nova Terran viera named Kelbina, but the lead medic is Nayana, ex-military who served for eight years in the Oran Reinis, very strong in personality and incredibly skilled even if her Taru nature might make people not take her seriously. The Subsistence Team includes not just the ones in charge of food and other amenities but also the medical staff.

Engineering Team - The Engineering Team is led by Elross, a Kivaran that joined Terra Nova recently, but whose skill has earned him a command position already. They are in charge not just of maintaining the White Fire itself but also to provide support in whatever is nescessary for the ground team.

Starfighter Squad - Three fighter-class ships and a frigate-class orbital bomber loaned along with their pilots by the Earth military to the White Fire, they make up it's defense squadron. Attached to the Starfighter Squad is also the Eidolon Weapon System, the only actual weapons wielded by the White Fire, they are special prototype warmachines powered by emotional energy and standard drives in synchrony, they are easily skirting the border of the sort of ship that can only be had by the military and what is allowed for a civilian group, their reliance on a rather unstable source such as eidoloncing-like power is the only thing preventing them from being seized as arma-class ships (it's a secret but they're far more stable and reliable than they look)

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