Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Imagining A New Kind Of Chaos: Part 1

SandWyrm here. Before we get too deep into creating the innermost details of our Human Empire, I think I need to describe my ideas for the race that will be their antitheses in our universe. If the Empire represents order, purity, faith, obedience, oppression, and unity; then this race represents disorder, decadence, impurity, rebellion, freedom, and fierce individuality. The two civilizations are paired, as neither would be what they are without the ongoing influence of the other. Neither is truly evil, yet neither is truly good either.

I'll dub this race the 'Coulcerans' (Kül-sare-äns). Which is their human name; a combination of the words 'Culture' and 'Cancer'. As these two civilizations have been interacting for some 13,000 years, the word has acquired it's own spelling and meaning. To humans, a Coulceran, or 'Coul' is anything strange, irreverent, or disobedient. While 'Human', to the Couls, is curse thrown at anything perceived to be limiting to one's own freedom. However that is defined.

The Coulcerans refer to themselves most often as the 'Culture of Enlightenment'. Though, like everything else Coulceran-related, there are 10,000 different opinions on what that means.

The Coul are not one race, with a single lineage to trace, but rather a conglomeration of both the originating race and several other races that the Coul have absorbed into their culture as their influence spread across the central stars of the galaxy. Racial categorizations are fairly meaningless, however, as advanced genetic engineering allows any Coul to assume the form or color of their choice over time. It is not unusual, for instance, for a Coul to be born/cloned/engineered as a male, and then choose at various times in it's life to become female in order to bear children ("How fun!"). Returning to their original sex ("It just wasn't me!") later. Likewise, humans or other aliens who choose to 'see the light' and join the Coul can easily gain access to the technologies required to shed their original form for one that's more in fashion.

For the Coul do ever love their fashions. Currently (since encountering humans in large numbers) the typical Coul has chosen the appearance of a tall, pale, thin humanoid with elongated ears ("longer this season daaarling"). This appearance is specifically designed to be alluring to the ("short, hairy, grumpy, oh-so-sad") peoples of the Empire. The better to show them the way to enlightenment and eternal joy. For while there will never be any agreement on the method, the entirety of the Coul are obsessed with the idea of 'saving' the humans from their boring, dire, poverty-stricken existence. "Really, shouldn't they want to be like us?"

After all, typical Coul are free to go anywhere they like, and (within the limitations of 'politeness') do anything they like. Assuming that they can convince someone with the resources to give/build it, a Coul may be the master of their own world. Sharing it with like-minded groups of friends and hand-picked animals/plants. Or populating it with 10,000 slave-clones of themselves. The better to study their own reactions to disease, death, and other stimuli in an effort to reach the uppermost level of enlightenment about their own being and share their 'insights' with others.

Never is a Coul hungery, or without choices of where to go, as the resources to provide for these needs are so cheap and easy to provide that one needs only to ask for them.

Of course, this level of material abundance would be impossible without someone to provide it. In the case of the Coul this largesse is provided by vast armies of both intelligent and dumb machines. Whose purpose in 'life' is to mine, manufacture, and grow whatever the Coul need or want. Artificial intelligence is everywhere in Coul society. Their spacecraft are almost all Sentient. As are their ringworlds, manufactories, hairpins, and even the bullets in their guns. At every level, Coul AI's interact with their flesh-and-blood masters. Showing loving patience for their foibles and an amazing diligence in fulfilling their various duties. It is their job to reconcile all of the contradictions inherent in Coul life and make the continued existence and expansion of the Coul 'elightenment' possible.

Of course, this often means doing things that their masters might find distasteful. But such is the price of joy. :)

To be continued...

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