Category: Tico2

Mar 30 2015

A Brief Overview of the History and Society of the Empyrean

I deliberately kept the Empyrean cloaked in mystery in Tico2, but now I can reveal a little more of the background. We start with Project New Moon, a program to build massive artificial moons as habitats for the Orbitals. Potentially, these units could be used as forward colonies when the Ringe-Wahl act expired and the Union could legally expand beyond the bounds of the solar system. Five were planned initially, but only three of them were completed. (Lydia Han was born on one of these, Selene 04.) By some means, the AI calling itself the Shekinah was embedded in Selene 03’s central computer and seized control of all systems. Whether the Shekinah was seriously deluded into a genuine God complex or if it was all part of some experimental routine in its programming is uncertain. Nehema seemed to believe her sister was genuinely insane, but she isn’t the most honest broker of information. From the time the Shekinah took over Selene 03, the Age of Vilon began. The history of the Empyrean is divided into ages named after the levels of Heaven, which is also used as the name for Selene 03 itself.

The Age of Vilon lasted from 089 to 101. It was a period of violence and disorder as the Shekinah sought to impose Empyrean society on a largely unwilling populace. Obviously, the Shekinah won out in the end and the hold-outs against its authority were purged. This led into the Age of Rakia, which lasted from 101 to 109. During this time, there was a massive baby boom in a big to raise the population to the desired standard of 144,000 people and the initial buildup of the Empyrean fleet. You might be asking how all this was accomplished. Artificial gestation accounted for a large number of births (and in the larger game, this was intended to replace old-fashioned methods of procreation), while a number of blacksites were appropriated to fuel the Empyrean war engine. As the Empyrean society began to settle, the Age of Rakia gave way to the Age of Shehakim. During this period, the Empyrean fleets started ranging and had their first encounters with the Union, which the Shekinah dubbed Amalek. Were it not for Nehema’s intervention in the Battle of Selene 03, the Union forces would have likely been defeated and the Empyrean would have entered the Age of Zebul, in which the the outer colonies would have been targeted for conquest and integrated into the Empyrean. The culmination of the Shekinah’s plan would be the Age of Arabot, in which all Union space would be under the Shekinah’s control. I’m actually considering an If Arc story with that very scenario.

Now, as for Empyrean society itself, it is based around a corrupted version Judaism with elements of the Kabbalah and any pragmatic adaptations to suit the Shekinah’s purposes. The people are divided into Twelve Tribes of 12,000 each and ranked according to the angelic hierarchy found in the Zohar. The common citizens are the Ishim and then there are the military ranks: the Bene Elohim, the Elohim, the Elim, the Hashmalim, and the Ophanim. The Hayyoth are priest-magistrates, 30 per tribe. There are seven Seraphim heading up each of the seven fleets and then the three supreme commanders of the military, the Erelim, and finally the twelve princes heading each of the Twelve Tribes, the Malachim. Among the Ishim, certain men of their numbers are named rulers of tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands. Similarly, in the military, among the Bene Elohim are rulers of tens, but it’s Elohim that act as rulers of fifties, Elim as rulers of hundred, and Hashmalim as rulers of thousands. (The military being the military, ranks are more explicit.) This means that life is strictly regimented for civilians as it is for the military, with all duties and responsibilities given religious significance. By the Age of Shehakim, Empyrean society was pretty well settled and anyone who dissented with official doctrine and policy either kept it to themselves or were quickly dispatched as heretics.

I think we’ll leave things here and save any more in-depth treatment for future posts. Hopefully this has shed a little light on the mysterious Empyrean. We’ll see what inspiration strikes me for the next commentary post. Stay tuned.

Mar 20 2014

WIP Update – 19 Mar 14

I did a little writing on Chapter 28 of Tico3, but my main accomplishment for the day was completing my review of Tico2. There were no major changes, just some tweaks for better dialect consistency, a few cases of missing italics in the HTML and a couple other minor oversights like a missing “the” and such. Maybe I can push through Chapter 28 today and possibly even round out the book before the end of the weekend. It’s actually not quite as ambitious as it sounds. Most of the dialog is already written and it’s largely a matter of fleshing out the narrative.

Speaking of editing reviews, I didn’t mention it here, but a week or two ago I was going back over Tico3’s prologue and decided to mercifully translate the slurred speech of Clip. You’re welcome, by the way. (Certainly I wasn’t going to dispense with it entirely after I lost that big chunk of hide from my lips simulating a Shelly breathing tube for reference.) I suppose a full review of Tico3 will have to follow its completion. That’ll be fun. I’m still on the fence as to whether or not I should include an extra chapter for the Tigerhawk training and if I should turn the planned epilogue into a regular chapter and make a new epilogue that fits the pattern of the previous two books. Things to consider. Stay tuned.

Mar 19 2014

WIP Update – 18 Mar 14

I’ve pretty well finished Chapter 27 of Tico3. In the process of writing the chapter, I had to make a couple callbacks to Tico2 and noticed some inconsistencies I need to patch. Nothing major, mind you. A big part of it is Lydia’s dialect. I’d went back over Tico1 a year or two back when I was making some pitches, but I haven’t given Tico2 the same treatment, so I’m doing that. The changes are mostly minor, but I’m also catching a few errors that slipped by before. I managed to get about halfway through and hope to finish the rest in short order. Stay tuned.