Posted Dec 19 2013 - 08:27 PM
Antara and its People
Antara is the fourth planet from the sun in a galaxy several lightyears from the one that held Spherus Magna, before its destruction. The sector of space it inhabited was remote, most of the planets in its solar system, as well as the neighboring ones, had either never held life or held life that died out thousands of years before they arrived. Archaelogical digs have indicated both on a variety of planets. Due to their lack of any immediate neighbors, the region went undiscovered by other races.
The Antarans are a humanoid race, roughly seven feet in height on average. Their biology is, in many ways, remarkably similar to that of the Glatorian, sans most of the mechanical components. Their muscular, circulatory, and respiratory systems are remarkably efficient, which means that athletics and physical endurance come quite naturally to them. Their senses are quite acute, due in small part to their biology, though the more substantial cause is the way that they are raised to use them from a young age.
Even in this day and age, visible mechanical enhancements are a rarity, found almost exclusively in those without the resources to create more advanced models. Nanotechnology was, before the planet’s fall, almost universal. Every being was injected at birth, and the nanites would continue to function for the entirety of their life, keeping them healthy and strong long past when other organic races would simply have broken down. As a result, their lifespans were incredible, rivaling even the Matoran Universe’s inhabitants, though no tests could ever be made to discern which race lived longer. Their skin was of almost human skin tone, though leaning towards slightly paler complexions, and their hair was astounding in the variety of colors and hues it was known to appear in, as well as their eyes.
The species as a whole lacks any innate powers, elemental or otherwise, though the rise of cybernetics would eventually lead some beings to manifest abilities similar to the term “power”. Their natural attributes, however, are easily on par with those of a Toa.
The Antarans, since their very earliest days, have been a race of worries. Once, millennia ago, this had manifested as the formation of warring nations across the globe, each one at war with one or more of the others for one reason or another. Periods of peace were often but brief, the perceived differences between them too much to let them keep the peace for long. This period lasted for several centuries, the surface of the planet eternally dotted by abandoned battlefields and shed blood.
Their weapons evolved, from simple metal clubs to blades, blades latter supplemented by bows and arrows. As time went on, the creation of these weapons became just as important as their use, an art form in and of itself. Smiths would etch their names onto their works, granting themselves fame immortal. To this day, they are remembered and honored in the naming of modern weaponry. The northern states were famed for their prowess in straight-edged weapons, preferring broadswords and longswords, power over swiftness. The western states preferred the bow, perfecting its use and creation, allowing them to strike quickly and at a range. The eastern nations preferred swiftness over power, creating lighter and thinner weapons to strike hard and fast, fading away into their jungles before retaliation could occur. The southern nations, hailing from a mountainous regions, remained out of the offensive war, using their natural precipices and choke points to prevent their holdings. Their weapons were a mixture of all the rest, innovation only coming in the form of fleeing craftsmen and scholars from the other nations in search of a safe haven.But eventually, the blades and bows began to give way to cannon and gunpowder. Despite this, they never truly left the battlefield, instead serving to supplement the ranged weapons. By this period of history, the world had almost entirely forgotten about the southern regions, leaving them to their mountains to focus on their multi-sided war. Smaller states allied with bigger ones with remarkable fluidity, the only political constant was the war that enveloped their existence. Cities rose to tower heights only to fall again, peppering the surface of the planet with ruins populated only by paupers and deserters, hoping to escape the conflict that surrounded them. The population did not grow, instead slowly declining as the people died faster than they were born. They were slowly fighting themselves to extinction for causes no one even remembered.
But all of that changed when the southern nations descended. Left alone for centuries, they had advanced their own technology far faster than the others, making use of the craftsmen they had driven away to create advanced weapons and vessels, far outclassing anything that the other nations could bring to the field. Crude armored vehicles, ships capable of carrying vast numbers of troops faster than they could be stopped, all of the above descended upon the land.
Unable to set aside their differences, the nations fell one by one to the inexorable onslaught, many times surrendering even before a battle could be fought. A year after it began, or so historians had estimated, the war was won, and all of the warring nations had been brought to heel. But the conquerors had no intention of setting themselves up as rulers. They had been watching events for decades, seeing the trends and recording them carefully. They knew that any attempts to set themselves up as rulers would end in their downfall at the hands of a united enemy, and that democracy would be divided along regional lines, sowing further tension.
And so the Ruler’s Game came to be. Once every ten years, or sooner if a challenge was issued, a tournament would be held in the planet’s capital. Any nation or group that wished could field a team, and the team that won would pick who would rule for the next ten years. The early Games were bloody affairs, with the losing teams often suffering casualties despite attempts to prevent them, but as time went on, they grew civilized. Roughly three hundred years after the end of large-scale war, they had come to be regarded as a sport, and they were treated as such. Hatred turned to rivalry, bloodshed to sport, and destruction to creation.
The rate of invention was greater than ever, fueled by competition, and the inventors were as praised as the warriors. And population grew as well. Rather than conquer nature, the Antarans decided to expand underground, and thus began a movement that led to the planet’s image before the Brotherhood. The surface was carefully maintained, forests and jungles allowed to flourish with minimal intrusion, while cities grew deeper and deeper beneath the earth. But all was not as perfect as the elite would like to believe. Even in this “utopia”, crime existed. Empowered individuals attempting to rule their little slices of the world through fear, warlords in all but name. Large scale conflict had been eradicated, but the small scale conflicts had just begun. Even into the modern era, not a year went by before a would-be ruler tried to take over outside of the game. Some were pathetic, others mad, and a select few truly dangerous, but the conflicts they caused were, without exception, bloody.
One thousand years after the Conquering, the Antarans ventured into space for the first time, quickly establishing another colony on their moon. Their taste for exploration unearthed, they threw themselves whole-heartedly into space, terraforming their two moons and slowly moving out of their solar system. Several decades later, they achieved faster than light engines, and were able to explore in earnest.
But the worlds they found were all as they had been centuries ago. The wages war against one another viciously, relentlessly, for reasons of no consequence. And worst of all, what they wanted was weapons. They sought the Antarans’ technology to wage war. Some demanded, some tried to trade, some bought, but when the Antarans saw what they were doing with the gifts they were given, they withdrew to their own worlds, venturing out only in small groups. But that did not stop the others from seeking what they had. If a cause was just, or a race proved themselves worthy, they would give away some of their secrets in trade for some of the aliens’, but they were careful. History had taught them such.
And so it was that their technology became legend. When a piece would surface, the more primitive worlds would pay through the nose, in money, resources, and sometimes in blood, to obtain it. Some even grew bold enough to search for the source of it. But few could ever find it. They knew not where to look.Makuta stumbled across it in the twenty thousandth year of his expansion, and fortunate for him that it had taken him so long. Already having consumed and assimilated dozens upon dozens of worlds, they had become a juggernaut that few could stand against. So when a Brotherhood battle group stumbled across the edges of Antaran, they saw only a peaceable race of no real threat. Overzealous and drunk off of their victories, they attacked.
The colonies on the very outskirts fell quickly, unprepared for an attack upon a civilization that had not seen true war for centuries. The Brotherhood was emboldened by this perceived reinforcement of their analysis, and moved in further.And thus, the Brotherhood suffered its first unconditional loss in several thousand years. The technology designed to be used in an arena was quickly adapted for war once more, and when the Brotherhood reached the inner colonies, they were unprepared for what they found. A veritable fleet of ships waited for them, and when they opened fire, the Antarans returned fire with weapons the likes of which the Brotherhood had never seen. Beam weapons, railguns, electronic warfare, weapons far beyond what the Brotherhood could field swept over them. In less than five minutes, the Brotherhood battle group had been annihilated.
The victory was short lived, however. The battle had drawn the attention of the Brotherhood’s main forces, prompting a full-scale war that would rage for years. The Brotherhood had numbers, but the Antarans had chosen to fight to the last man. The Brotherhood was loathe to outright destroy them, the secrets of their technology was a fruit too sweet to pass up. But each captain, each warrior, prepared for that. Ships rigged to self-destruct at unauthorized use, weapons designed to destroy themselves in the event of their owner’s death, or purge their systems at a single command.
The war lasted for nearly a century before the Brotherhood wrote it off as a lost cause, and Makuta himself came to finish the job. Perhaps the Antarans could have held out longer, perhaps survived long enough for the Order to come to their aid, but they were inexperienced. Even with their technology, their tenacity, it had been thousands of years since they had seen real war. The Brotherhood lived for it. The Antarans began to lose ground due to tactical errors, mistakes, just as much as their foe’s overwhelming numbers. Colony by colony, they were forced back until just their homeworld remained. The Brotherhood and the Antarans clashed one last time, in a battle that the Antarans knew they could not win. So when Brotherhood forces finally overwhelmed their spaces forces, a brief, but vicious fight, and ground troops finally broke into their cities…Everything was gone. Every bit of knowledge, every bit of data either taken off world or destroyed. The few soldiers that had remained behind fought to the last, buying the refugees time to escape. By the end of the war, the Brotherhood had expended more resources and manpower on one world than on the rest of its conquests during that time combined. And to show for it, they had few than a hundred Antaran captives, and a mere handful of even half-functioning Antaran technology. And even the majority of those destroyed themselves rather than reveal their secrets when examination was attempted. The Antarans’ pride had cost them their future when they might have lived to fight another day, and their pride would cause suffering for all those who yet lived.
It is estimated that there are now fewer than a thousand Antaran survivors, so few that most only know them by name, and not sight. And of their technology, even less has survived.
The Antarans were, undisputedly, the most advanced civilization for several galaxies in any direction. Their weapons came in all manner of shapes and types, from projectile weaponry to energy weapons, shields to stealth technology. Their terraforming systems were incredibly efficient, and their medical technology similarly advanced.But the pride and joy of Antaran weaponsmiths were the IAS Combat Suites. The IAS packages (Infinite Adaptability System) were a collaborative project of the best and brightest minds, culminating in seven generations of technology. The smiths realized after a time that weapons were swiftly going obsolete, and there was little use for them once they did. In an attempt to combat this, they created an advanced computerized system that would analyze weapon systems it came into contact with, document their specifications, and quickly rebuild them into modern equivalents of themselves.It was intended as a utility, but quite by accident, they discovered what it could do as a weapon. The first generation was integrated into powered exoskeletons, allowing the users to hijack and reformat enemy weapons and systems for use by themselves, adding to their arsenal with each opponent they fought. But after a handful of fights, the users would quickly accumulate too much equipment to effectively carry with them. So they set to working aroundt this problem.
And with the fifth generation IAS, they found it. Weapons were stored in a subspace storage locker, a space between dimensions of nearly limitless capacity. But summoning weapons to and fro required intense amounts of energy, quickly exhausting the user and lighting up sensors for kilometers around.It wasn’t until the first generation created until the war that they figured out what to do. Weapons frequently used were stored just out of phase with reality, not quite in the storage locker, and allowing them to be summoned with ease. Summoning from the locker was made more efficient by harnessing the energy created from breaking the item down into its component parts before transit, so that the only tax put upon the user was the energy needed for the initial breakdown. The end result? A weapon with potentially infinite armor and weapon combinations, capable of not only hijacking enemy weapons, but computer systems if contact was maintained for long enough.The seventh and final generation fine-tuned the mechanics, resulting in the creation of a psuedo-AI within the Combat Suite to manage all autonomous functions. Said AIs could manifest basic personalities, and even grow attached to their wielder. However, the seventh generation only saw a limited distribution, having been invented only a few short months before the razing of Antara.
The IAS was, and is, potent, but it has its share of flaws. Energy is required to start the materialization process, and the larger the object, the more it takes. Large pieces of technology, like vehicles, can be hijacked, but storing them is impossible. In active storage, late generation IAS devices can only hold around twenty weapons in addition to their armor, subject to change depending on the size and complexity of the weapons involved.The number of remaining IAS units is unknown, but known to be low. Late stage IAS units would bond to their owners, and in almost all cases, would “die” with them.
Name: Aukrante Struin
Appearance: Aukrante is tall, even for her species, with a toned and athletic physique. Her gray-blue hair hangs down past her shoulders, though it is often kept pinned out of the way during her day-to-day duties. Violet eyes regard the world from behind augmented reality glasses, constantly feeding her information, be it diagnostics from her IAS to reports on the Wombat’s weapon systems. She seldom dresses in anything but gray combat uniform, with a few pockets here and there. Worn black boots cover her feet, but the most prominent acessory is the jet-black gauntlet that covers her left arm from just below the elbow to the wrists. The item is inlaid with lines of an unknown smoky-gray material, and the purpose it serves is not immediately apparent.
Powers and Abilities: Aukrante possesses no powers save the enhanced physical attributes and healing common to her species.
Equipment: Though Aukrante never goes anywhere without a combat knife and a railgun pistol strapped to her waist, the majority of her equipment is always unseen. The gauntlet on her wrist is a seventh generation IAS, and it serves as the link to her vast arsenal. Ever since the fall of Antara, Aukrante has taken a weapon from every foe she defeats, upgrading it and adding it to her own arsenal. Where once her only armament was the basic equipment that went with her black powered armor, she has since swelled her arsenal to include a ludicrous number of weapons from every possible origin.Her powered armor adds to her height with leg extensions topped with spiked boots, and coating her entire form in a layer of powerful armor. Though not impenetrable, it serves her quite well. Two mechanical arms tipped with clawed hands attach to her back, arms scaled to her new size, adding to her natural arms. Her head is covered in a helm with an opaque gray visor, two bladed horns sprouting from the sides of her head.The armor is completely modular, and as such she can equip certain parts of it at a time. However, such configurations must be preset, something impossible to do on the battlefield. In addition, though her arsenal is considerable, the majority of it is kept in her storage locker. As such, she cannot summon much of it without instantly lighting up like a Naming Day tree on every sensor array in a several kilometer radius.
Note: The IAS is explained in more depth in the Antaran write up.
Skills: Aukrante is a highly skilled fighter, familiar with most weapons be they handheld or ship-mounted. She also possesses a highly tactical mind, allowing her to process threats effectively. All of these traits serve her well in her roles on board the ship.
Weaknesses: Aukrante’s greatest weakness is also her greatest strength. In order to access the majority of her weapons, she must expend energy to summon them from subspace, making her instantly noticeable to sensor arrays within several kilometers. Her intense hatred of the Brotherhood can also work against her.
Personality: While not cold, Aukrante is easily a more distant figure than most. She refuses to reveal any real depth of her past, and even prizing her species from her was difficult.
Alignment: True Neutral
Bio: Aukrante was a warrior born on Antara several thousand years before the Brotherhood arrived. She was a renowned participant in the tournaments of her people, though she never competed for the crown. She served as a test subject for each successive generation of the IAS system, and as a result, was one of few to receive the seventh generation before the fall of Antara. The fall would have been the end of her, had she not been assigned to transport refugees off-planet, a fact that bothers her to this day.In the years since, she has worked extensively to defeat the Brotherhood, eventually joining up with the crew of the Wombat. She now serves as the Master of Arms, and de facto head of security.
CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
On this eve, the thirtieth anniversary of that first colony, many are left to wonder; is the world fast approaching a breaking point?
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