The Humans

All things Human, Hiver, Tarka, Liir, Zuul and Morrigi.

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Erinys
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The Humans

Post by Erinys » Tue Jul 25, 2006 5:57 am

Species Information: “Humans”

Human are an air-breathing, land-based species of sentient mammals, evolved from a primate line which can be traced to a tiny tree-dwelling shrew. They are highly adaptable and thrive in a wide variety of environments, but seem most comfortable within a limited range of temperature, gravity and atmospheric density which mimic the conditions on their home world.

Technology:

Ships: The discovery of the so-called “subspace” dimension has allowed human propulsion engineers to take advantage of the gravitational stress fractures of the universe. The principle at work is simple: four-dimensional space time appears to have a crystalline structure, and massive bodies such as stars and black holes create distortions in the space-time continuum. These distortions are connected by breaches of space-time known as “subspace”. In essence, subspace is an interstitial dimension which connects one gravitational distortion to another.

Connections between massive bodies in subspace are formed by means of similar “resonance” frequencies between the two gravitic “nodes”. The causes of this “resonance” cannot be fully explained without resorting to the esoteric extremes of Starstring Theory, but the practical result is that the distance between any two nodes in subspace is highly compressed, relative to the positions these two Nodes might occupy in ordinary space-time. A human vessel equipped with a Node drive can enter and leave subspace at will, and thus traverse the compressed distance between nodes very rapidly. When the vessel emerges from subspace again, it will have traversed a great distance in a short period period of time, thus effectively achieving superluminal speed. This “faster-than-light” travel is possible between any two points which are connected by a fracture line.

Chains of nodal connection between stars are sometimes referred to as “starstreams”, a term coined by the first subspace traveler, Blasky Yao Hsiang. However, the phrase “starstream” can be somewhat misleading. Although the Node connections between stars do form a sort of chain, if plotted through ordinary space-time, a human ship traveling in subspace will not be crossing those regions of space as a physical object. The only evidence of the ship’s passage in ordinary-space time is series of gravitational pulses, which indicate the presence of the vessel in subspace. Although a sufficiently sensitive scanner might be able to determine the mass of human fleet in motion or the number of vessels traveling together, those vessels cannot be contacted or intercepted in ordinary space-time.

All forward and maneuvering thrust aboard a human vessel is otherwise created by simple mass-to-energy conversion, the principles of which are understood by all star-faring races.

Physical and Social Characteristics:

Humans appear to have undergone several conflicting stages of evolution on their home world. Bipedal, they walk erect with a locking knee and a hip structure evolved to allow maximum elevation from the ground and minimum exposure of skin surface to direct radiation from their sun. This suggests a period of development in an arid, hot grassland region. However, the smooth, often hairless hide and subcutaneous fat of the human body would also suggest a “water” phase at some point during their evolution, when humans may have lived a partially aquatic existence. In any case, the resulting modern human is a curious beast; height in the adult human ranges from 100-200 centimeters, while mass ranges from 50-150 kilograms, and a variety of superficial differences can be observed in pigmentation. Since these differences constitute so little variation in DNA there is no practical difference between one “race” of humans and another.

Humans are divided into two sexes, male and female. There are some morphological differences between the two, but most other sentient species cannot tell the two human genders apart. (Since there are only minor differences in physical capacity and behavior between male and female humans, this seldom causes problems of more than a comedic variety.) The exception to this rule would be the Hivers, who seem to have a natural advantage in identifying male and female members of any species, perhaps due to their sensitivity to airborne estrogen. Hivers have been known to target females first in ship-to-ship boarding actions, which can have unpleasant psychological effects on human crews.

Humans tend to form family groupings based on a single breeding pair, one male, one female, and their offspring from current and past pairings. A human female can produce several offspring during the course of her breeding career, although gestation and birthing of human infants can often be fatal without proper medical support.

Recent History:

Due to certain peculiarities of human physiology and psychology, life on the human home world became very unpleasant in the post-industrial age. The expected lifespan of the average human being was enormously increased due to advances in biology and medicine, but the breeding behavior of the majority of humans was not adjusted to take this into account. Many humans also refused to modify their industrial consumption and pollution.

Accordingly, from the beginning of the so-called “Industrial Revolution” onward, humans began very rapidly to both overpopulate and environmentally devastate their own home planet. Certain unfortunate distribution philosophies created a steadily growing number of humans with little or no access to vital resources, while others remained wealthy, overfed and wasteful. The impoverished fringe population rapidly grew, despite the pressures of starvation, disease and environmental toxins on their proliferation, until they outnumbered the so-called elite of the “developed world” by a factor of ten. The resulting planetary wars and limited nuclear exchanges were even more gruesome and destructive than the effects of overpopulation and careless industrialization had been; a sizable percentage of the homeworld’s native species were lost, as well as roughly 70% of the human population.

During the Reconstruction Age, a philosophical shift was observed in the surviving population of humans. The newly emerging Consortium governments more easily signed armistices, environmental protection accords and peace agreements. War in general was no longer universally revered as the most valuable and noble of all human endeavors, as had often been the case in previous centuries. A tendency toward cooperation and mutual support was encouraged.

With the discovery of the Node drive, a motive for further cooperation among the various human Consortia was found, and the available resources of several governments were pooled to fund the research and development of the first interstellar space ship. Christened the Nova Maria, the ship made several successful Node jumps to and from nearby star systems before the first deep space colony was planned.

As the Nova Maria boarded its passengers for launch, intent on the first adventure of space colonization for the human species, tragedy struck. A Hiver nesting fleet, consisting of a dreadnaught and several support vessels, arrived in the human’s home system. The planetary defenses of the human race, which had never before encountered another star-faring species, were negligible, and easily brushed aside by superior Hiver firepower. The Nova Maria was destroyed in the first volley with all hands lost, and the human home world was bombarded from space for 48 hours afterward, resulting in massive devastation and catastrophic loss of life.

Only the legacy of humankind’s suicidal past eventually saved their home world from complete destruction. After nearly 36 hours of struggle, the curators of the planet’s former ICBM arsenal finally managed to reactivate their remaining stock of ancient missiles, which had been stored for decommission in the silos of the North American and Asian continents. A total of 3,000 fission and fusion bombs were launched at the descending Hiver fleet, destroying its full complement of destroyers and causing serious damage to its dreadnaught.

Thereafter, the remains of Hiver fleet left orbit and limped on to parts presently unknown.

Rebuilding from this devastation has taken the human race several years. Although the human home world is now lightly populated and there is little pressure to expand, certain peculiarities of human psychology have re-emerged from their slumber. The human race has re-learned its historical taste for war, and the colonial fleet never lacks for willing volunteers. Most human spacers have bitter memories of the Hiver attack, and are old enough to have lost friends and family in the fires, floods, and chaos that followed. Accordingly, although the official motto of their Space Corps is “Per Ardua Ad Astra”--“Through Hardship, the Stars”--the unofficial motto of humans in space is “Repensum est Canicula”: “Payback is a Bitch”.


Sidebar: The Discovery of Nodespace

The first subspace traveler, Blasky Yao Hsiang, was a solar physicist assigned to the Sol Prima research station. Early in the year 2371, Blasky was assigned to perform the first penetrating scan of Sol’s deep core using an experimental high-energy resonance beam. One of the station’s hardened research pods had been fitted with the ring-shaped scanning array; the pod was launched from the station with Blasky aboard to operate the controls, while the rest of the station’s 18-man crew eagerly monitored their screens.

The moment that Blasky’s scan was initiated, however, the tiny research bell disappeared from view, and was no longer detectable by any means available to the Sol Prima monitoring station. Fearing that the scientist had suffered a catastrophic equipment failure or lost power, the station quickly dispatched a rescue team to search for his bell and the precious scanning array, hoping to recover the man and his equipment before a decaying orbit could drop both into the sun’s corona.

After several minutes of frantic scan-and-search, Sol Prima received a feeble signal from Blasky’s pod. The scientist’s calm voice was heard from a distance of over 800 million kilometers; in less than ten seconds, he had been miraculously transported from a close orbit of Sol to a close orbit around the nearby gas giant Jupiter.

For the next two hours, as his team of solar scientists desperately attempted to find some means of reaching and rescuing their comrade, Blasky made a series of burst transmissions to the nearby Storm Watch probe in Jupiter’s orbit. The full-length recording of these transmissions is still played to first-year students of Node mechanics, and can be a highly emotional experience for those who have never heard them before. As Blasky’s probe slowly descended into Jupiter’s atmosphere, the scientist gave a highly detailed account of his experience in subspace, describing the gravitational “current” which seemed to pull him away from Sol’s orbit with blinding speed. He expressed his regret in having expended so much fuel fighting this astounding gravimetric pull, and speculated that his pod might have traveled much further had he not engaged thrust to fight the current within the “starstream”.

When Blasky could add no further detail to his description of subspace, he calculated the volume of fuel he had expended in resisting the gravitational flux, and the distance and direction he had traveled. His tentative conclusion was that the force acting upon his ship had been the gravitational pull of the nearby star Wolf 359; later experiments in subspace travel proved him correct, as Wolf 359 was the nearest node in Sol’s subspace chain.

After carefully re-checking his data, including the level of energy he had used to initiate his solar scan, Blasky ejected his data core with the ship’s tracking beacon attached. He died several minutes later in the crushing depths of Jupiter’s liquid hydrogen sea. The amazing discovery and tragic death of this remarkable scientist became the planet-wide impetus for a return to manned space exploration; it was often argued in the months immediately following that the budget cuts which had forced ISA to place an unmanned probe in Jupiter’s orbit, rather than a manned research facility, had cost Blasky Yao Hsiang his life.
Last edited by Erinys on Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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A Commencement Address

Post by Erinys » Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:02 am

When they asked me to give this commencement address, I have to confess—I had no idea why. No one told me that people on Earth had been watching vids from the battle of Chepren, or that I had become some kind of celebrity back here on the home front. Working and living on the line, it’s easy to forget that civilians only get very sporadic battle reports, and that combat footage is rare. One man doing his duty in one little scrap probably comes across as something special, if he happens to end up in the one vid you see all year.

I’ve been very surprised and more than a little embarrassed by my reception for the past few days. I appreciate men who want to shake my hand or women who want to kiss me on the mouth, Lord knows! But from my point of view, that I’m just a working man taking a paid vacation. There are countless men and women in SolForce who make greater sacrifices and harder choices than any you’ll ever see on a vid—and while I’m standing here in this fancy uniform surrounded by gardenias, they’re up there right now in the Black, doing a job which is, for the most part, hard and dangerous and unglamorous as hell.

Believe me, in my own eyes, I am no hero. So when you look up at me, try not to wear magnifying glasses. I’m just one of many who wear this uniform, and wear it with pride.

Looking out into the crowd today, I see a lot of girls and boys who are the same age that I was, when I first joined up. I can tell by the look in your eyes that some of you—more than a few--are considering a career in SolForce, or wanting to ship out to the outer colonies. And I am wondering what to say to you. What I would say to my younger self, if I knew he was sitting out there today.

If you’ve seen the vids, you know the risks—or you think you do. But I’ll tell you right now, you won’t really feel it until you see that fireball bloom in the black, with the silhouette of a human being swimming in vac, and know that the person you just saw die was someone you knew. We lost thirteen ships of the line at Chepren, and I can name every one of them--hell, I can list off half the crew. I served with those people. They were my friends. Some of them had kids your age; some of them were kids themselves. Not one of them wanted to die. And every one of them will be missed.

I can’t lie to you, and tell you it’s all gardenias and glory out there. Most of the good days are just plain boring. Most of the bad days are just plain hell. And every day, good or bad, I know that the next time the fireball blooms? It could be me taking the Big Swim. And if you join up, it could be you.

That’s the downside, and it’s a big one, I’m sure you’ll agree.

On the other hand, boys and girls, everyone has to die. But not everyone gets to see a new sun rising over the mountains of a new world before they kick. Not everyone gets to turn the universe inside out and go node-hopping out among the stars. Not everyone gets to turn his guns on a genuine alien menace and blow it out of the Black. And not everyone gets to see the future of his whole damn species unfold, and help to shape it.

Only the people who wear this uniform get to do all that. That’s why I put it on, all those years ago—and why I’ll never take it off, until I’m dead or just too damn old to be any good.

Of all the questions that people ask me, since I made planetfall, there’s only one I don’t understand. Floors me every time. Whenever someone says to me, “What are we doing out in space? Why are we out there?” I can only shake my head.

It’s just another thing that can’t be explained in words. I was born to wear this uniform. From the time I was a little boy to this very day, I have never looked up at the stars at night without knowing that I belonged among them. That we ALL belong along them—the whole human race.

And if I have to fight for my place in the scheme of things? Then I will. Today is your graduation day, but SolForce is a commencement exercise for our entire species. And if any of you feel the way I do, I want you to know that there’s a place for you in SolForce, and I’ll be proud and happy to serve beside you.

If I’m some kind of hero—so are you.

And I’ll see you out in the Black.
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Dirt Gunfrey
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Post by Dirt Gunfrey » Tue Jul 25, 2006 9:00 am

Sign me up!
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Post by Boomer » Tue Jul 25, 2006 4:38 pm

Get some!
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Post by Kaorti » Wed Jul 26, 2006 2:11 am

"Excuse me sir? someone told me that this was the recruitment office? I'd like to sign on with Solforce. I've been thinking about it a lot, and I really believe that it's where I belong."
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Post by DevilDude » Fri Jul 28, 2006 1:57 am

where's the recruitment office?
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Post by Tssha » Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:52 am

DevilDude wrote:where's the recruitment office?

US Recruitment Office

EU Recruitment Office

Sign up here soldier. :wink:

Oh, and before anyone makes a smart ass comment, we're sharing office space with these SunAge and Keepsake people. Just don't walk into their office by mistake and you'll be fine. Speaking of, that's also your first competency exam as a soldier!
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Post by Emperor Zog » Thu Aug 03, 2006 6:11 am

By the way. Does the human ship silhouette look like a key to anyone else? I am assuming that was intended, but if not it is still fitting.

With the keys in hand, I hope humanity is wise enough to peek through the key holes before opening the wrong door...

Naw since when did that stop us! :lol:
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Post by Omega_Paladin » Thu Aug 03, 2006 6:13 am

Pfffft, wrong door? When have we ever picked the wrong door :D! Every now and then we just like to take a scenic route!
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jefe414
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Post by jefe414 » Thu Aug 03, 2006 1:53 pm

Human ships have a very Babylon 5 look to me...
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Blazer
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Post by Blazer » Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:46 pm

I totally see the key thing!

Here's my question though, why don't we start at Earth?

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Post by Bossman » Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:56 pm

Blazer wrote:Here's my question though, why don't we start at Earth?

Earth has been reserved for scenarios only. If you had two or more Human players in a sandbox game, what would you do? Most of them can't start at Earth (don't get me started on Earth 2) and seeing a star named Earth would be a dead giveaway as to the location of one homeworld. So giving every Human player a homeworld that isn't Earth is simpler.
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Blazer
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Post by Blazer » Thu Aug 03, 2006 4:06 pm

Reasonable... very reasonable.

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Emperor Zog
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Post by Emperor Zog » Thu Aug 03, 2006 5:05 pm

Besides, Earth is special. You don't bring out the good stuff for any old party! Imagine folks like me that would bee line to kill you and claim Earth in a basic game. Best for scenarios
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Post by Major Diarrhia » Fri Aug 04, 2006 4:23 am

Am I the only one who thinks the human History is sucky, except for paragraphs 4, 5, 7?

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