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Dethenes

by Lewis Roberts

Before the Collapse Dethenes was the capital of the Dethenes Technical Alliance. The Alliance was founded during the Rule of Man in -2150. It survived the Long Night and was eventually admitted to the Imperium. The Alliance was created as a mutual defense league. The worlds shared military forces and technology. Dethenes was the dominant partner in the alliance in both population and technology. It produced TL-16 equipment and these goods were readily available throughout the Alliance. The Alliance was always fairly xenophobic and outworlders were never welcome. The Alliance was afraid that outworlders would try to steal their technological secrets and use them against the Alliance.

During the Rebellion, the Alliance maintained its loyalty to the Imperium, without specifying whose Imperium. In order to maintain its independence, the Alliance used the industrial juggernaut of Dethenes to produce large quantities of TL-16 weaponry and ships. Most of the ships were gigantic monitors without jump drives, but there was also a small jump capable fleet. Both Lucan and Margret made diplomatic overtures towards the Alliance in an attempt to gain the industrial power of Dethenes. Each time the ambassadors were heard, but sent on their way with no agreement.

The Alliance was not harmed by the Hard Times, as it was never dependent on outside trade. The Alliance continued to maintain its military forces and had the most potent military force in the sector throughout the Hard Times. In 1130, after three millennium the Dethenes Technical Alliance was finally destroyed. The intact technology of the Alliance gave Virus thousands of potent tools to wreak havoc. The mighty TL-16 Alliance fleets were either taken over by Vampires, or destroyed defending against those Vampires.

On Dethenes the chaos reigned for twenty years, until things settled into a new equilibrium. Today Dethenes is split into thousands of city states and small nations. Before the Collapse Dethenes was home to several billion robots, today only a fraction of those remain, but it still means that there are approximately five hundred million sentient robots on the planet. These robots have been integrated into the societies of the various nations. The exact nature of this integration depends on the nation. It can range from integration to enslavement.

In the Empire of the Twin Peaks the robots rule the humans. In the Citizen's Republic the robots have eliminated all organic life, even the plants. In the Stronghold of Nar, the humans have exiled or destroyed all the robots. The Desert Union is one of the few nations where robots and humans peacefully coexist as equals. The floating city of Darlene is home to a militant order of humans, who use the city as a floating fortress. They raid other cities for supplies and loot. The Ninth Fleet is a task force of robotic nautical vessels that travels the sea, trading with whomever cares to. Station Nirvana is one of two orbital habitats still functioning. It is neutral territory, where any being with enough money to pay the entry fee can come and carry out whatever business it desires. Its neutrality is backed up by the hundreds of defense satellites it controls. These are capable of firing upon any craft in orbit or at ground targets.

The People's Technocracy of Quantra is ruled by a pre-collapse Artificial Intelligence named Gideon. Researchers from Dethenes created the AI in 1104 as a research project in advanced technology. For the next 25 years it assisted various groups with massive data analysis projects. It also was able to chat with thousands of citizens on the global network. From these chats and its careful analysis of millions of political philosophy books, it created a philosophy of meritocracy and socialism. During the early stages of the Collapse Gideon was able to accurately predict several of the coming events. Based on these predictions it was able to come up with solutions that saved millions. Over the next forty years it was able to create a government based on its personal philosophy. So far that path has proven to be beneficial to both human and robotic inhabitants. Many of the sentient robots on Dethenes, even those who do not live in Quantra, believe Gideon is a religious figure and they make pilgrimages to his location. Many hobbyists and doomslayer strains live in Quantra, where they wait for Gideon to dispense divine knowledge. Gideon has so far proven immune to the effects of Virus, based on his unique construction. It has also instituted many electronic defenses just in case.

The Sword of Gideon is a group of robots and virus-infected computers that has taken Gideon as the direct voice of God. They have conquered several small cities and have instituted a theocracy based on Gideon's teachings. They believe that robots are inherently superior to humans, and believe that only the most exceptional humans could ever rule successfully. This conflicts with Gideon's actual teachings, but the Sword believes that Gideon's message has been warped by those surrounding him. Relations have taken a turn for the worse lately, and the Sword is preparing a crusade to rescue Gideon from his imprisonment.

It is interesting to note with the immense numbers of sentient robots and computers, Dethenes probably has more peacemaker strains than any other world, with several million.

Culture

With hundreds of different nations, Dethenes has hundreds of different cultures, but there are some universals. The people of Dethenes tend to be fond of technology and feel that through the judicious application of technology most of life's problems can be cured. Their technological achievements allowed 70 billion individuals to survive, where lesser technologies would have let them perish. Their technology saw them through the Collapse, though that same technology was the architect of the Collapse. This has caused a schism in the psyche of the average citizen. He can see that technology has incredible benefits, but he can also the horrible uses technology can be put to. Still they embrace technology with an attitude that the side effects will not happen to them, but to someone else.

The people of Dethenes have always been isolationist. In the past this isolation has served them well. They weathered the fall of both the Second and Third Imperiums because they were not dependent on outside trade. This gives the average citizen a sense of pride. The attitude that it is best to be independent and be able to take care of oneself has shaped the current political climate. This has contributed to the hundreds of governments to spring up and to those governments lack of social programs. The world's governments do not see any great need to venture beyond their star system. So far no government has attempted to build or repair a starship. The technological knowledge is available, but a combination of economics and lack of interest has contributed to lack of interest. If contacted by other world's the people would respond with hatred and contempt. The people remember that the Collapse came from outside of the Technical Alliance and was brought to their world on a ship seeking trade.

The Guild tried to make contact with a few of the governments in 1183, but their ship was captured and their representatives executed. The ship was used for spare parts. The Free Traders learned long ago that Dethenes was best left alone.

Physical Details

Dethenes is a large planet with a gravity 1.5 times Earth normal and a dense atmosphere. The planet is almost entirely covered with a shallow sea. The only land is in thousands of large islands. Most are a few hundred kilometers across. Many of the islands are populated with massive arcologies holding millions of people. Even still these arcologies only house a fraction of the population. Some cities are built entirely underwater, while others are built on the sea floor and rise above the waves. Other cities are built on massive contra-grav platforms and float above everything. A few older cities float on top of the water, but these are remnants of the early colonization period and most have been replaced with grav cities. Before the Collapse there were dozens of orbital habitats, but only two have survived in to the New Era. There are also sizable settlements on the outer planets of the system.

Between the worlds of the system, the remnants of the system defense forces lurk. The more violent strains of Virus have been destroyed over the years either by other Vampires or by the planetary defenses on Dethenes. Left are the hobbyists and those Vampires with subtle plans. Several of the Vampires scheme and play one nation against each other.


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