A sci-fi project I worked on that never quite managed to slip Earth’s surly bonds.
Back in 2012, I worked with my friend and Gamemoir partner Yesika Reyes on an untitled 22nd century sci-fi game as narrative designer for her company Digicato. While the game itself never got off the ground, I recently went looking for (and found) some of the planning documents which detailed the alien races which were going to be in the title.
I’ve included the information below. Maybe the game will happen someday, if not as a game than perhaps as a book or something else. Regardless, let me know what you think! We also worked on a game in which the Roman Empire never collapsed which focused on how gladiatorial combat evolved and scale which might have been reached. Unfortunately, this project never happened either but I’ll be sure to post any materials I find which relate to it. Inspired by The Truman Show, The Hunger Games, Battle Royale, and of course Gladiator, the intention was very much to create something where not all is as it seemed to be.
But here’s some of the work I did on the sci-fi project.
Ascentians stand taller than humans, on average 1.9 to 2.2 meters tall. As a race they are typically faster and stronger however this increased metabolism leads to body temperatures often in excess of 40 degrees Celsius (313.15 degrees Kelvin).
As a result, ascentians essentially burn out earlier than humans generally living to no more than sixty years though advanced human technologies and medicines are beginning to extend this limited life-span it is unlikely however that the ascentians will ever achieve the 150 or so years to which humans can now expect to live thanks to medical and scientific advancements made in recent centuries.
It is also notable that their shorter life spans also lead to shorter childhoods, typically the average ascentian attends school until the age of 10 and and is considered a legal and societal adult at 12.
Nevertheless due to their enhanced physical prowess it is recommended that only those equipped with military grade augmentations engage in direct confrontation – if unarmed.
Aesthetically similar to humanity ascentians do not grow hair – except for eye lashes and eye brows – though some have taken to wearing wigs in imitation of humans while others have begun to use augments to artificially produce body or facial hair.
As with humans ascentian skin pigmentation differs based on regional and climatic factors – ranging from light yellow to dark red.
Ascentian noses are both thinner and longer than those of humans in turn giving their faces a slightly gaunt, drawn look.
Internal organs perform essentially the same function however the heart sits on the right-side of an ascentian chest and some human-ascentian couplings have resulted in children with severe heart conditions though Solu Con is researching how best to minimise risks.
Ascentian pregnancies are of shorter duration than those experienced by human women at an average of just twenty eight to thirty weeks, however the process of an ascentian birth renders females incapable of future pregnancies. Advanced genetic and medical research is currently studying how this might be avoided with most studies being based on human and other Earth mammal births as well augmentations a
Extensive research is also underway to determine whether ascentians, with an almost impenetrable immune system, might hold answers in the search for a permanent solution epidemic plaguing humanity.
There are three superpowers on Gharma; the Kel Protectorate, the Ravitan Federal Republics, and the Siterin Dominion. These nations form the basis of all major political, and sometimes military, manoeuvres on the planet however the total number of recognised nation states is between 76 and 80.
The precise number is difficult to determine as, for example, the city state of Karnat is recognised as an independent state by the RFR but has been classified as a rebel province by the KP.
The Ravitan Federal Republics:
The newest of the superpowers as well as the nation with which humanity deals most frequently the RFR was formed from the merger of a 17 nation bloc, the Ravitan Trade Alliance, into a single nation with a centralised government 128 years ago as a counter to the growing might of the Kel Protectorate.
The RFR, as its name suggests, is a democracy with a two tier Federation Parliament in the capital, Cyiten. Regionally each area is controlled by a 16 member Council of Overseers. The lower chamber of parliament is referred to as the Chamber of Legislators while the upper chamber is known as Chamber of Delegates.
416 members of parliament form the Chamber of Legislators while 68 Delegates sit in the upper house.
Overseeing the parliament, and the nation, is the holder of the office of first minister.
All members of the Federation Parliament are elected for life or until declared unfit to continue to perform their duties, either by medical professionals or as a result of the successful passage of a no-confidence motion.
As a result there are no fixed dates for elections.
The Federation Constitution commits both federal and regional government to upholding democratic principles, supporting ascentian rights, and to a complete separation of church and state. There are, for instance, no publicly recognised religious holidays by government institutions – however many secular public holidays have been fitted neatly around traditional religious events.
Divided into 76 articles the constitution also bans political parties however voting blocs are common within parliament and on the councils. The constitution can be amended by a plebiscite in a referendum or at the behest of the Constitutional Convention, convened every ten years to recommend changes to parliament.
Land area: 21,067,000km2 (approximately four million square kilometers larger than Russia, yet the smallest of the superpowers) Federation Geographic and Ordnance Survey
Population: 203,506,201 Federation Census Bureau
Most heavily populated city: Haltava (11,080,203) FCB
Population of Cyiten: 4,323, 216 FCB
Most heavily populated republic: Torrio (54,000,902) FCB
Least populated republic: Bericka (4,450,031) FCB
Most widely spoken language: Ravi (176,032,656) FCB
Number of English speakers: 16,286,781FCB
Human population: 20,302 United Nations Colonial Affairs Office
Currency: Federation Dollar
Gross domestic product: 27.3 trillion Federation Dollars, Federal Economic Affairs Ministry
The Kel Protectorate
Born from a troubled period in ascentian history the Kel Protectorate is often described as an experiment in every form of government and has since grown to be the largest and most populous of Gharma’s major powers.
At the highest tier of the administration sits the sovereign (note, that is the actual title rather than king or emperor etc. and is applied to both male and female rulers). Ascendency to the position of sovereign is based entirely on bloodlines. In theory the KP is an absolute monarchy however the political reality is significantly more nuanced.
Overseeing the running of the Protectorate is the Party. More a collective of nobility formed into a plutocracy and yet for that the KP is not the example of a capitalist society pushed to extremes.
Wealth may lie overwhelmingly with the plutocracy but this wealth was generated within the state system or granted from the imperial throne. A good sovereign knows that it is often wise to play the plutocracy against itself, so that they cannot focus of eliminating the sovereign.
It is often said that blood is the most valuable asset in the upper echelons of Kel society however in many respects any impact even the most prominent aristocrat possesses is shackled by extensive state bureaucracy. In part at least the KP is comparable to Earth’s communist states. Virtually all economic activity is under the control of the civil service with vast, often dreary cities as centers of industrial and economic output the result.
One of the core tenants of Kel society that has allowed the Protectorate to endure for nearly 500 years is the central message of ethnic superiority reinforced by increasingly effective state propaganda from the Bureau of Public Enlightenment.
Kelans are told extensively throughout their enlistment in youth camps and at school that they are superior to other races. Practices akin to those used by fascist regimes in mid-20th Century Europe – particularly Nazi Germany – are employed against Ravita whenever possible.
The KP’s stance on humanity is generally distrustful and humans found without travel permits within Kel territory are usually integrated and sometimes executed – the majority are however returned to Ravitan territory after questioning. Humans are advised to travel to the Protectorate only when absolutely necessary.
There are many contradictions and intricacies within the KP state and society with differing forms of government forming a largely cohesive whole nonetheless.
* Note: As a heavily militaristic state official data is rarely released. The majority of statistics listed here are estimates.
Land area: 27,201,000km2 Solu Con Gharma Planetary Observation Program
Most heavily populated city: Xeret (22,000,000)
Population of Wektun (capital): 19,000,000
Most widely spoken language: Keltine (247,000,000)
Number of English speakers: < 5,000
Human population: 1,258 United Nations Colonial Affairs Office
Currency: Kel Dyam
Gross domestic product: 18 trillion Kel Dyams (30.1 trillion Federation Dollars)
The Siterin Dominion
The oldest of Gharma’s three principal power the Dominion dates back nearly eleven centuries, however, its origin can be traced back even further to the Divine Yanvitoy Empire which lasted nearly eight hundred years.
Siter today is home to the most diverse range of cultures and languages in any of the superpowers, even so there is a single factor which brings these peoples together: religion. The SD is a theocracy and faith is apparent in virtually every aspect of Siterin life from education to governance to warfare.
The Siterin religion, Val Tor-el, is predicated on 12 Hallowed Tenants with each of the principal Siterin deities being linked to one of those tenants. As such 12 is considered both a lucky and a sacred number. The Conclave, the highest branch of the church and therefore the state, is made up of 12 members while there also are 12 Holy Colleges of Electors, who vote on the appointment of members of the Conclave which are permanent.
The Conclave rules over all matters, both ecumenical and secular in nature. 11 Members of this body are referred to as Patrons, the 12th is the Patriarch the divine leader of the Dominion and the supreme representative of the gods on Gharma.
For centuries the Dominion has decried what they see as the heresy and, increasingly, secularisation of the Ravitan Republics and the Kel Protectorate. More recently the Conclave have consistently denounced humanity and barred all but a select few diplomats from entrance to the country.
Some fringe elements in the Val Tor-el Church decry humanity as agents of Chaos, the greatest enemy of the gods’. The Conclave however are more concerned with the contamination of the population by human religions. Citizens of Ravita in particular have begun to adopt human faiths, principally Zen Buddhism and Christian Catholicism in significant numbers.
* Note: Similarly to the Kel Protectorate detailed statistics are not readily available on the Siterin Dominion. This is not because such information is classified as a state secret but rather because the Dominion simply does not record such data.
Land area: 24,358,000km2 Solu Con Gharma Planetary Observation Program
Most heavily populated and capital city: Zarn Tor-El (literally The Gods’ Place) (10,000,000)
Most widely spoken language: Uruza Tor-El (the Tongue of the People of the Gods) (185,000,000)
Number of English speakers: < 1,000
Human population: 126 United Nations Colonial Affairs Office (all diplomatic or embassy security staff)