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Old 01-08-2024, 10:41 PM   #21
Johnny1A.2
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE: VERANIS (Dyaxor A V) in 2123...

Quote:
Originally Posted by warellis View Post
How long can half-Terrestrian/half-Vertarans live? Like what is the average lifespan assuming they live somewhere safe and nicely developed (assuming without the life extension treatments) and being healthy (i.e. keeping themselves healthy like not having a terrible diet, smoking, etc)?
A healthy Vertaran can expect to live about as long as a healthy Human, under similar conditions. The half-species offspring usually live similarly, though their mixed heritage is a benefit in some ways and a detriment in others. The halflings are slightly more vulnerable to cancer than either parent race, for ex, and some of them (but not all) inherit the Vertaran vulnerabilty to ionizing radiation. On the other hand, the halflings mixed heritage makes them less vulnerable to a number of parasites and diseases that are specialized to attack one parent race or the other, too.

Quote:

And in places with this life-extension treatment, how long do people generally live? Like what is the average lifespan with the treatment?
On Earth in 2124, in the advanced nations like the USA/Argentina/Australia, China, or the Empire, the combination of health treatments, longevity drugs, and a number of other techniques adds an effective +2 to HT for most purposes*, gives an additional +2 to most disease resistance rolls, increases tissue regeneration (so wounds heal somewhat faster, but still not instantaneously) and slows (but does not stop) the aging process. The average life expectancy for a healthy male in 2124 in the advanced nations of Earth is about 120-130 years, females slightly longer (but not by much). The overall slowing of the process affects most aspects of aging.

To calculate the effects of aging for adults under those regimens, multiply their actual age in years by about 0.625. Thus a fifty year old would look, sound, act, and otherwise seem about 30 to us. A seventy year old seem to us (look, act, etc.) as if they were in their early 40s. Very late in life the retardation fails quickly, so the 'last year effect' is still real.

Initial maturation is barely affected, one still reaches sexual maturity in the teens, grows at the normal rate, is a physical adult in the late teens or very early 20s, just as now. The retardation is modest in the 20s and accelerates in the 30s, and holds for decades afterward.

One of the biotechnic treatments also results in extended ovulation, so menarche comes at the same time that it does now (or only fractionally later), but menopause comes proportionately later, in synch with the extended lifespan.

All these treatments are very, very expensive, but provided as part of the various national health care systems, (or at government expensive in the private health care systems, depending on the state) in the advanced nations (which is most of them in 2124). The Thakarians have their own versions of the technology, of course.

These techniques are not available widely on Veranis in 2124, however. Which is a major issue and potential source of trouble, since the locals, both educated Vertarans and (now) young Thakarian-descended Humans, know perfectly well that they exist, but don't usually have access to them.
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Old 01-09-2024, 01:26 AM   #22
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE: VERANIS (Dyaxor A V) in 2123...

LATER.

AMANDA KAYE KERREY (Age 32, 5'8", blonde hair, green eyes)

IQ 12
DX 13
ST 10
HT 10/12 (Second number represents biotechnic enhancement)

Spd 5.0 (plus Runner skill, in 1G environment)

ADVANTAGES:

Alertness 1
Ally (Paul Denton/'Paul McRane', appears often, very capable)
Appearance (beautiful)
Charisma 1
Common Sense (her friends, associates, and enemies might debate this one)
Contacts (many, varied, +15 points worth)
Danger Sense
Empathy
Fit
Legal Immunity (employee of Three Power Commission)
Patron (Commissioner Neil Bateman, appears occasionally, powerful)
Secret Advantage (significant latent psionic potential)
Strong Will 1

DISADVANTAGES:

Duties (To Three Power Commission/public, Australian Secret Intelligence Service/secret, overlapping, sometimes hazardous)
Enemies (multiple, appear regularly, sometimes very dangerous)
Extra Sleep 1 level
Impulsive
Intolerance (Imperial government officials, military, agents)
Lecherous at -5 level
Overconfident
Phobia(s) (Claustrophobia*, fear of spiders at -15)
Prone to seasickness

QUIRKS:
1. Tendency to jealousy
2. Loves peanut butter potato candy
3. Horrible singer but likes to sing
4. Wears silver contact lenses for visual effect at formal events (no optical effect)
5. Can be 'catty'.

SKILLS:

Acting 12
Area Knowledges:
Adelaide 14
Cataka 14
Veranis 12

Artist 12
Beam Weapons (TL10) 14
Carousing 12
Cooking 11
Dancing 14
Diplomacy 10
Disguise 11
Fast-Talk 12
First Aid 12
Guns (TL10) 15
Intimidation 11
Interrogation 12
Knife 13
Languages
English (Australian dialect, native)
Spanish 14 (literate)
Catakatian 14 (literate)
Thak-Tarak Clan Language 8

Leadership 12
Lip Reading 11
Lockpicking 12
Pickpocket 10
Running 14
Savoir-Faire 14
Secret Lore (city secrets: Cataka) 11
Sex Appeal 13
Shadowing 13
Stealth 10
Streetwise 12
Swimming 15
Unarmed Combat (basic) 12
Writing

Amanda Kaye Kerrey was born in Adelaide, South Australia, in 2091, though her family on the paternal side had lived in Alice Springs for four generations. Her great-great-grandfather was an Australian intelligence officer at the Pine Gap facility during the American/Soviet Cold War, and her family has a tradition of military and intelligence service.

Her mother was born in Australia, but her maternal grandmother was an immigrant from Sweden, fleeing the formation of the Empire, and it is to this Scandinavian heritage that Kerrey owes her pale complexion and naturally blonde hair.

In her teenage years, and later at university, Kerrey was a swimmer and a runner, sports which came naturally to her slender build and lean strength. IN adult life, she continues to keep in shape and retains much of her ability as a runner and a swimmer. While maintaining a successful student athletic effort she also maintained excellent academic grades and when she graduated, with honors, from university, she went directly into the diplomatic service.

(Or so it appeared. In actuality, she was also working for the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, with her diplomatic career as a 'cover'.)

In 2119, she received an assignment that would take her beyond the Earth itself: she was assigned to the Australian contingent of the Three Power Commission staff on the planet Veranis.

MORE LATER.
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Old 01-09-2024, 09:54 PM   #23
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE: VERANIS (Dyaxor A V) in 2123...

LATER.

On Veranis, her double-role as a diplomatic staffer and an intelligence officer and field operative kept her quite busy. She expected to have time to adjust, to 'find her bearings', instead she found herself busily engaged in the ongoing shady activities that were so prevalent in the city of Cataka, in the Northlands of Veranis.

Cataka was the closest thing that existed to a capitol city for the planet. It had been used by the Thak-Tarak as their administrative center, and now the new Terrestrian regime was doing the same. Formally, Cataka was the capitol of a local kingdom in the Northlands, and the residence of the royal family thereof. In practice, it was almost an open city, a trade center for the entire northern hemisphere, the headquarters of the Three Power Commission, and a veritable den of spies, smugglers, thieves, native activists, slavers, humanoid traffickers, and worse. It was riddled with Thak-Tarak agents, Imperial agents and other Terrestrial spies, and any number of other players.

Kerrey began as an assistant to a more experienced officer, also working under diplomatic cover. She soon found that the usual 'rules' of such activities were regularly ignored because of the unusual circumstances, before she had been on the planet even a full year, she had been in multiple violent situations, gone undercover to penetrate and a major smuggling operation, had acted as a handler for native operatives, and continued to work in the diplomatic side of the Australian delegation to the Commission as well.

She proved to be good at all this, once she found her footing. By 2021, she was involved in much more complex matters, had picked up a patron in the form of one of the Australian Commissioners, and had been captured by a Thak-Tarak operative and his native agents and tortured before she could be rescued by an Argentine operative. The people who supervised her torture, a pair of Thakarian Human locals, escaped and remain Enemies. (See below for Shalakiar and Tryark.)

(Her claustrophobic tendency dates to this incident. Most of the time she keeps it firmly under control, but in extreme situations she can lose her grip on her phobia. Her spider phobia dates to her early childhood.)

In early 2122, she hired an American expatriate named Paul McRane, because she needed air transport to move an illicit cargo from SharThak to Cataka, and all the Commission aircraft were otherwise occupied. McRane had his own plane, a bizarre but functional machine he had designed and built himself, more or less, and he made a living moving cargoes and passengers using it.

The supposed cargo was a cover for the actual cargo, which was secret, illegal, and politically 'touchy'. The ASIS preferred that even their American and Argentine allies not know about this particular operation, which was another reason that she could not ready use Commission resources. McRane had a reputation for being reliable and discreet, and so she hired him to fly her to SharThak and bring her and her cargo back to Cataka. Simple and easy.

It did not turn out to be simple and easy.

The cargo she wanted brought back to Cataka consisted of smuggled bioweaponry that had been stolen from an Australian arsenal and smuggled to Veranis. ASIS and Australian Army personnel had followed it to Veranis, and they had recovered the materials from the locals to whom it had been sold in the jungles of Central Continent. Kerrey was tasked to get it back to Cataka where it could be quietly loaded onto the next star carrier bound for Earth. For various reasons, the Australian government did not want the whole incident known, even to their allies.

Naturally, everything went wrong almost from the moment Kerrey and McRane landed in SharThak. McRane needed to refuel his plane for the flight back to Cataka. That was to be expected, but there had been a leak somewhere and the opposition knew about the operation, and they attacked while the plane was being refueled. McRane and Kerrey barely got out alive, and the cargo was stolen back from them...along with McRane's plane.

What followed was two weeks of insanity, during which they eventually managed to recapture the plane and the cargo. McRane proved to be remarkably effective in the whole thing, though when he learned what the cargo really was, he was less than pleased. He ended up charging three times his original fee, and Kerrey more or less had to pay it, since secrecy was critical.

But McRane proved to be a useful contact and asset, and Kerrey found herself hiring him again, and again, for this or that operation or activity. She and McRane also found themselves embroiled in an on-again, off-again romantic entanglement that broke most of the rules of tradecraft, but which seemed to have a life of its own.

Eventually, Kerrey leaned the real identity of 'Paul McRane', and she kept quiet.

By 2124, everyone who knows them knows that Paul McRane, pilot for hire, and Amanda Kerrey of the Australian diplomatic staff, are an item. Not so many know about her intelligence work, or his utility to it. They work well together, though Kerrey does have a jealous streak, and McRane has a history of womanizing, with both Human and Vertaran women in cities all over Veranis. She tends to be especially jealous of Nayais, the mother of his halfling son, though she tries to remind herself that whatever they had was over long since. She is also jealous, on another level and degree, of his connection with his son Nykor.

A quirk of their relationship is that both Kerrey and McRane/Denton have an intense phobia toward spiders, which many of their friends and associates find amusing.

Kerrey is strongly hostile, almost viscerally so, to Imperial soldiers and government personnel. This is of course common among Australians of her generation, due to the Tasmanian Situation, but in her case it is stronger because her older brother was an officer in the Royal Australian Navy, and he was killed in an 'incident' off the coast of Tasmania in 2118. The professional in her knows that that sort of emotional compromise is best avoided, but she is human and her emotions are what they are.

MORE LATER.
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Old 01-13-2024, 10:56 PM   #24
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE: VERANIS (Dyaxor A V) in 2123...

LATER.

XYARKYTHIS (Age: 50 Terran years Height: 6'3" Hair: Red Eyes: Blue)
Half-Human/half-Vertaran merchant/crime lord


IQ 12
DX 11
ST 13
HT 11

Spd: 5.5

ADVANTAGES
Alertness 2
Charisma 1
Cool
Common Sense
Contacts (too many to list)
Fit
Patron (prince of local royal family, appears often, powerful, must remain hidden)
Strong Will 1
Unusual Background (half-Human/half-Vertaran)
Wealth (comfortable/filty rich)

DISADVANTAGES

Enemies (Many, highly varied, dangerous)
Greed
Lecherousness at -10 level
Overconfidence
Secret (crime lord in Catakan underworld)

QUIRKS
1. Usually shaves head
2. Always carries hidden knife
3. Disdains rudeness
4. Dislikes open countryside
5. Loves tomatoes

SKILLS

Administration 14
Area Knowledge(s)
Cataka city 15
Catakan Monarchate 14
Veranis 11

Beam Weapons TL10 13
Boating 12
Dancing 12
Fast-Talk 12
Guns TL10 13
History (Catakan specifically) 14
Interrogation 13
Knife 15
Language(s)
Catakan (native)
English 15 (but not literate)
Spanish (Argentinian Dialect) 10 (not literate)
Thak-Tarak Clan Language 15 (literate)

Leadership 14
Riding 11
Secret Lore (city secrets of Cataka) 15
Streetwise 16
Swimming 12
Writing 13

Xyarkythis is probably the most powerful single person in the underworld of Cataka in 2124. Born the offspring of a Thak-Tarak woman of high status, after a more-than-slightly improper affair with a Vertaran native, he was more or less abandoned to his own devices before his tenth birthday.

Growing up on the streets of Cataka, he joined one of the many criminal gangs that preyed upon the city, and rose through the ranks of that first gang by a combination of native intelligence, ruthlessness, and a bit of luck. When that gang was wiped out in a gang war with a rival group, he went on to found his own smuggling organization with the survivors of both groups, and by the time he was 30 years old, he was running rackets all over the city. Murder, humanoid trafficking and prostitution, smuggling of pretty much any commodity, regardless of its nature, extortion, trading in illegal drugs, arson, name a major crime and you could find Xyarkythis involved, directly or indirectly, but always profitably.

When the Thak-Tarak Clan was forced to yield control to the incoming Terrestrians, Xyarkythis was caught just as much by surprise as everyone else, but he adapted to the change far more quickly than many of his rivals, and even thrived in the new, dangerous, spy and crime ridden environment of the city. The illegal traffic of the drug Terrestrians call 'Nostalgia' became a major source of income, addicts in New York City were funding a crime lord on Veranis.

In 2124, Xyarkythis is apparently a reputable businessman, running a profitable trading house that leaves him with Comfortable wealth. In fact, his legitimate business is exactly what it seems, and it also provides a wonderful cover for his far more lucrative illegal activities. The only limitation is that he must conceal the full extent of his wealth, most of the time.

Though Xyarkythis is the most powerful kingpin in Cataka, he is not the only one, and he does not dominate the underworld. Several rivals remain major competitors, and though Xyarkythis is wealthier and more powerful than any two of his rivals, they could overwhelm him if the dozen or so other major players combined against him. Driven by an insatiable hunger for power and wealth, Xyarkythis constantly plots to gain more power and secret control.

Among his many enemies is Paul Denton. It was Xyarkythis, or rather one of his subordinates, who planted the bomb that destroyed the spacecraft Denton was working aboard, resulting in the death of several crewmates and close friends. Denton knows that, by 2124, but can not actually prove anything about that. On the other hand, Denton does know enough that if he released his information, it would be a major blow to Xyarkythis' organization.

(This is the most important reason Xyarkythis has not simply had Denton/McRane killed long since. Denton has made it clear that if something happens to him, that information will be made available to various interested parties, including some of his underworld rivals.)

Xyarkythis has contacts all over Cataka and beyond, ranging from the royal family to the staff of the Three Power Commission to the business class down to the poorest of the neighborhoods of the city. Law enforcement personnel know perfectly well about his illegal activities, but proving anything is quite a different matter. Also, removing Xyarkythis would create a power vacuum in the underworld, and few are eager to see the violence that would follow from such a development. Thus Xyarkythis moves among the Great and the Goo-well, the Great and the Wealthy and Powerful, anyway, quite openly using his above-board identity.

Today Xyarkythis prefers to leave violence to his employees, but he is not incapable of it. He is capable with modern beam weopons and modern firearms, he prefers the latter because he lacks the technical skill to fully understand the former. He can use them, but he understands firearms rather better. He always carries a knife and he is lightning fast with it. He has no compunctions about killing when it serves his needs, whether the prospective victim is male or female, a child or elderly, does not matter.

Though he is an illegal drug smuggler and manufacturer, he personally does not use the stuff, ever. He does not even drink alcohol. He prefers to keep a clear head at all times. He carefully watches what he eats and drinks, with an eye toward health and nutrition.

A quirk is that he absolutely loves fresh tomatoes, a fruit introduced to Veranis by its new Terrestrian overlords.

Xyarkythis is an intelligent, driven, and cold customer. He is not exactly a sociopath, he is capable of caring for other humanoids, but he expresses this caring for a very limited group. His word, in business arrangements both legal and illegal, is usually good. This is not out of any moral compunction, but simply because it is 'good business'. He has never married, but maintains several women, Human and Vertaran, more or less as concubines. He actually treats them rather well, as such things go, they live in luxury, but he would ruthlessly kill any of them if they violated his trust or his rules.

Xyarkythis has set himself to learn the working language of the new rulers of Veranis. In practice, most Three-Power Commission business is done in English, since two of the Three Powers are Anglophone nations. Xyarkythis has learned to speak English quite fluently, though he is not literate in English (yet). He speak Argentinian Spanish somewhat, far less so than English, but he understands more than he lets on of that tongue as well. (Again, he is totally illiterate in Spanish.) He speaks English well enough to pass for an American or Australian, except that he has been unable to entirely eliminate his Catakan-Veranisian accent when speaking English.

Xyarkythis grew up in Cataka, and he is a creature of the city. As an odd side-effect, he is uncomfortable in rural areas and the open countryside. It is not strong enough to be considered a phobia, but 'wide open spaces' and forests and the open ocean and so forth leave him nervous and uneasy.

Xyarkythis still has connections with the Thak-Tarak Clan, and he would be able to thrive if the Thakarians reconquered Veranis. On balance, the crime lord is not quite sure if he preferred the former regime or the current one, there were upsides to both for a crime kingpin.

MORE LATER.
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Old 01-17-2024, 12:24 AM   #25
Johnny1A.2
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE: VERANIS (Dyaxor A V) in 2123...

LATER.

SHALAKIAR and TRYSARK

Two people, but combined character lists because they are so similar

Shalakiar (Age 25, 6'0", blonde hair, olive complexion, blue eyes, male)

IQ 10 DX 12 ST 13 HT 10 Spd 5.5

Tryark (Age 23, 5'10", blonde hair, olive complexion blue eyes, female)

IQ 10 DX 12 ST 10, HT 10 Spd 5.5

Shalakiar and Trysark are siblings, brother and sister. Both are Humans, born on Veranis but of Thakarian ancestry. They work for the criminal organization run by Xyarkythis, as enforcers and 'troubleshooters'. They are widely feared in the Catakan underworld, with reason. They are not twins, but they are remarkably similar in mental and physical traits, and even bear a notable physical resemblance in spite of their differing genders.

Common Advantages
Alertness 1
Ally Group (personal retainers, 8-10 at a given time, competent, constant)
Appearance (Average)
Area Knowledge(s)
Cataka 14
SharThak 13
Catakatia (the large territorial state in which Cataka is located) 13

Composed
High Pain Threshold
Patron (Xyarkythis, common, powerful, appears often)
Reputation (dangerous thugs, widely known in underworld, protected by Xyarkythis)
Strong Will 2
Wealth (comfortable)

Common Disadvantages

Addiction (larsh*, a common stimulant/sedative drug on Veranis)
Bad Temper
Co
Bully
Duty (to Xyarkythis, common, dangerous)
Enemies (too numerous to list, Paul Denton in specific)
Greed
Hidden Lore
(City Secrets, Cataka 15, SharThak 12)
Jealousy
Lecherousness at -15
Paranoia (arguably semi-justified**)
Sadism

Common Quirks
1. Finish each other's sentences
2. Appear to be jealous of each other's romantic/sexual partners
3. Always wear the same colors
4. Fear of flying at quirk level
5. Indifferent to the taste of meals

In addition to the above, the male sibling is missing his left hand, and it was his dominant hand, giving him the One Hand Disadvantage (a fight with Paul Denton left him minus a hand, he wants payback, Denton would like a chance to kill him and/or his sister, the hostility is mutual).

Common Skills
Blackjack 12
Carousing 14
Dancing 13
Detect Lies 12
Diplomacy 13 (when they bother to use it)
Fast-Talk 14
First Aid 11
Guns TL10 14
Interrogation 14
Knife 15
Language(s)
Catakan (native and literate)
Thak-Tarak Clan Language (literate) 14
English 6 (illiterate)

Leadership 12
Poisons 14
Sex Appeal 12
Shadowing 12
Speed Load 12
Streetwise 14
Swimming 12
Unarmed Comat (advanced) 14
Driving (the common power vehicles in Cataka) 12

These siblings are...strange. Though not twins, they finish each other's sentences with uncanny precision, and without apparent effort. They think so similarly that it is something mistaken for Telepathy (in fact they are both almost totally psi-dormant, and psions make them nervous). Their manner is so calm, so controlled, their mannerisms and other 'tells' so strictly governed, that they have been known to make people nervous simply by being in the room. They seem totally uninterested in food, except as necessary fuel, a well-prepared steak or a bowl of porridge is equally acceptable to either.

They share a number of mental Disadvantages which they rarely openly display, being possessed as well of considerable will power and self-control. This is necessary both to avoid trouble and because their employer Xyarkythis is not amused by subordinates who lack self-discipline. They reinforce each other in this, each gets a +1 to Will rolls when they are physically together (in the same space where they can see and hear each other, essentially).

That said, when the opportunity to indulge their negative impulses in safety comes, they rarely pass it up.

Their Sadism is the real deal, none of this 'safe sane and consensual' stuff, they tend to start small and work their way through broken bones and sharp knives, and when free to indulge they rarely stop short of death. They enjoy torture and killing for their own sake, and are quite undiscriminating in their preferred victim profile. Male, female, young, old, they do not care what species the victim is, either. Each one shows a slight preference for victims of the opposite sex, but at quirk level, and they prefer to torture as a team.

Nobody is sure if they are actually bisexual in orientation or not, but either one can and will use Sex Appeal on either gender as it seems useful. They do appear to prefer the opposite sex for romantic and sexual activity for its own sake, but nobody is really sure except for them.

One trait many people who know them find unnerving is that both brother and sister seem to become visibly jealous of the romantic partners of the other sibling, fairly consistently.

An even more disconcerting fact that is known to few is that they murdered their older brother, when they were respectively seven and nine, and the victim was fourteen.

Their ally group of associates is not precisely unwilling, though they definitely do fear their employers, and many would be too afraid of them to try to quit. For the most part, though, their associates share many of their own mental traits and also their own self-control, they are chosen for that, so working for these two is a chance to indulge their own appetites regularly.

As noted above, there are many people who would cheerfully kill either or both of them the moment an opportunity presented itself, and they know it. They take constant precautions to protect their own safety, and so far none of their many enemies has been able to make it happen.

MORE LATER.










*Larsh is a local drug popular in Veranis, derived from a local shallow seaweed. It is locally legal, but highly addictive and can act either as a stimulant or a sedative, depending on the dose and the individual (similar to alcohol in some ways). It is moderately expensive and socially disapproved of, though legal.

** There are many, many people who are quite definitely out to get this pair of siblings, for any number of good and bad reasons. Their own actions have left a substantial number of people nursing a desire for revenge, rival criminals would enjoy taking them out to weaken Xyarkythis (and sometimes out of revenge or occasionally even moral revulsion, too). They still deserve the Paranoia Disadvantage because their dread and suspicion goes far beyond even what their situation justifies, and reaches out to touch people who have never heard of them and could not care less about them.
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Old 02-05-2024, 12:20 AM   #26
Johnny1A.2
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE: VERANIS (Dyaxor A V) in 2123...

LATER.

Some more about Veranis in general:

As mentioned upthread, Veranis has five major land masses, and it so happens that at the current time, tectonics have moved those lands masses, for the most part, into one hemisphere. As noted, there is a large northern continent, a large southern continent, and three smaller continents spread along the equator in the ocean between the Northlands and the Southlands. Individually the three Equatorial Continents (Eastlands, Central Continent, and Westlands) are smaller than the Northlands and the Southlands, but collectively larger.

(Of course these are Terrestrian terms for the land masses, the locals have many names for the various land masses, in various languages.)

The Equatorial Continents reach around the equator (naturally), covering an arc about 175 degrees wide. The other side of Veranis is, for the most part, open ocean, much like the Pacific Ocean on Earth, but on an even larger scale. The far side of Veranis does have some small islands, mostly hot spot volcano chains analogous to the Hawaiian-Emperor Seamount chain on Earth, along with a couple of very small 'microcontinents'.

The larger of the two microcontinents is about the size of Great Britain, the smaller, some hundreds of kilometers away from it to the south, is about the size of Scotland. They are drifting apart, having been part of a single microcontinent a few tens of millions of years earlier. As a result, the northern coast of the larger microcontinent, and the southern coast of the smaller, are mountainous, as the microcontinental plates override the local sea floor, which the opposite coasts are gentler.

The larger of the two is mostly barren rock and desert. The smaller is actually somewhat clement, with some arable land and tolerable rainfall, but it was only lightly settled by the locals before the Thakarians came, precisely because it is so very far from the major land masses on the other side of the planet. Only a handful of Vertarans lived there when the Thakarians came, and the Thakarians removed them forcibly, because they had their own plans for this island-microcontinent.

In essence, this island, known as Garith by the locals, was turned into a prison and place of exile by the Thak-Tarak Clan after they took control of the planet. Located thousands of kilometers from the major land masses, it was well suited to the purpose. The local climate and arable land made it practical to keep the prisoners busy growing their own food and maintaining their own existence.

The Thak-Tarak Clan did not lack for ruthlessness, and they executed most rebels and more serious criminals with a minimum of delay. The island was used for prisoners who were either useful alive, or too 'sensitive' in some way to simply execute. Exactly what could qualify a prisoner under these rules was highly varied, and very contextual.

Thus, the population of Garith, by the time the Terrestrians took control, was a mix of genuinely violent types, murderers, rapists, arsonists and so forth who were either too useful to kill or too connected to kill, as well as various flavors of political prisoner (which could range from armed rebels to outspoken natives to someone who simply knew too much about someone or something), along with locals born to the prisoners.

'Natives' of Garith were not, technically, prisoners. The Thak-Tarak would permit someone born to a prisoner father or mother leave...but they would not usually assist them in leaving. Such a person had to make their own arrangements to get to civilization, and this was not easily done on an island thousands of kilometers away from the major continents.

To make it worse, the Thak-Tarak rulers did forbid certain activities that might enable a theoretically free resident from leaving. Since it was a prison island, seaship construction was forbidden. After all, permitting the locals to establish a seaship construction industry would hardly be conducive to prison security.

Thus, to leave the island, a freeborn resident would have to somehow arrange for someone from the main land masses to come to bear him away. Since local communication facilities were highly limited, this was not easily done.

Under Thakarian rule, the island was governed by an official whose title we could translate into English readily enough as warden. The Warden was the absolute ruler of the prisoners, and in theory the freeborn residents were not under the authority of the Warden. In practice, since most of the locals, freeborn or prisoner, were highly dependent on the support infrastructure of the prison, the authority of the Warden was close to absolute for prisoner and free resident alike.

MORE LATER.
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Old 02-05-2024, 11:36 PM   #27
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE: VERANIS (Dyaxor A V) in 2123...

LATER.

It should be noted that the Thak-Tarak reluctance to assist native-born Garithi to leave also extended to former prisoners. Some of the prisoners consigned to the Garith prison were there for specific terms short of life. When their sentences were finished, they were freed from the prison proper, but not necessarily provided with transportation off Garith. If there was some reason to provide such, they would, but generally former prisoners were expected to find their own way back to the mainland...if they could.

The Thakarians ruled Veranis for slightly more than a Terran century, and they used Garith as a prison for most of that time. Along with locals, some Thakarians were also imprisoned here, depending on their offenses and the current policies of the Thak-Tarak ruling elite.

As a result, by the time the Terrestrians ousted the Thak-Tarak, the permanent population of Garith was made up of life prisoners, former prisoners, and the offspring of prisoners. Both Humans of Thakarian ancestry and local Vertarans were present (as well, inevitably, as a few 'halfings' born of unions between the two species).

Along with this population, there was the staff of the prison, guards, administrators, cooks, support personnel, and so forth, but these mostly rotated in and out, they were not permanent residents of Garith.

By the time the American, Argentine, and Australian forces ousted the Thakarians, Garith had a 'permanent' population of between five and six thousand, about four thousand Vertarans and one thousand Humans (and a few hundred halflings). Some families had lived on Garith for as long as four generations, descended from prisoner great-grandparents.

Garith has a land area of about seventy thousand square kilometers, and it is roughly rectangular, wider to the west. The southern coast is mountainous, and somewhat volcanic, where the seafloor to the south subducts under the south-drifting Garith microplate. The island runs about four hundred and sixty kilometers roughly east-west, by about one hundred kilometers north-south. The mountainous southern coast is steep toward the ocean, but the slope is gentler to the north, descending into rolling hills along the north coast.

The ocean is deep to the south, where the mountainous coast faces a subduction zone, but mostly shallower to the north. The microplate is substantially larger than the island itself, and there is a wide continental shelf to the north of the coast. There are two good, sheltered deep-water bays on the island, both on the eastern side. Because the microplate is both longer and wider than the island, the mountain chain on the southern coast extends into the sea as two chains of small islands to the east and west of the main island. These islands are mostly uninhabited, and some are actively volcanic.

The island is situated in the northern mid-latitudes, not too far above the tropics, and the prevailing winds come from the east. Garith tilts slightly southeast-northwest, which produces heavy rainfall on the gentler northern slopes of the southern mountains. Several fast, deep rivers rise in these slopes and flow more or less northward toward the ocean. The island has little in the way of winter, instead it has a cool wet season and a warmer dry season. Enough rain falls in the mountains, however, that the rivers remain full throughout most of the dry season.

During the warmer periods of the year, Garith experiences occasional hurricanes, usually of modest strength. Occasional superstorms do strike the island, but the worst of these tend to strike the mountain face to the south, which reduces the overall impact somewhat. The eastern coast is the most vulnerable area where hurricanes are concerned, which unfortunately does include the two best harbors and the two largest cities on the island.

The southern region, being mountainous, has only localized valleys of arable land, but as one moves northward the land turns into rolling hills, and finally into lowlands at the north coast, and there is extensive arable land throughout this region. Local farms, together with limited herding and fishing, provide most of the food on Garith, only a few luxury foods are imported from the mainland.

There are three significant population centers on Garith. Two of them are centered around the sheltered bays on the east coast that provide the best ocean access for seagoing vessels. Each of these towns has a population of about fifteen hundred. Inland is another city, with a population of about one thousand, this was the actual site of the former Thakarian prison complex. The rest of the population lives in scattered villages and rural areas.

The inland city was the prison, and it was also the site of the Residence of the Warden who was the de facto ruler of the entire island. Under Three Power rule, the prison remains in operation, with a much smaller population, and there is a warden of the prison and a separate Administrator appointed by the Three Power Commission to govern, more or less, the rest of the populace.

The Three Power Commission inherited a serious problem in the Garith prison when they displaced the Thak-Tarak rulers. They had to sort through those who they felt belonged in the prison, and those who did not, because the Terrestrians had very different ideas about what constituted an offense.

They also made it possible for former prisoners to leave the island readily, and because of that, the population of Garith fell significantly in the first few years after the Commission was established, as various former prisoners returned to the mainland. Some former prisoners opted to remain, and many of the 'native born' Garithi considered the island to be home.

MORE LATER.
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Old 02-06-2024, 10:42 PM   #28
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE: VERANIS (Dyaxor A V) in 2123...

LATER.

The prison itself is actually in two parts. There is the Inner Core, which is more like that most modern Terrestrians think of when they picture a prison. A large complex of buildings, with cells, yards, commissaries and other support facilities, it is large enough to house as many as one thousand inmates at a time, if need be, or more with crowding.

Most of the prisoners, though, were not held here. This facility was reserved for what the Thak-Tarak considered to be the 'hard core' or most 'sensitive' prisoners. (Though their definitions of that were not aways what a typical Terrestrian would subscribe to.)

The majority of the prisoners were held in village-like facilities in rural areas around the core complex. This was entirely practical, because the island itself made a viable prison. Thousands of kilometers of open ocean separate Garith from the nearest inhabited lands, and the only sea craft on the island were small, fragile, short-range fishing craft ill-suited for open ocean travel.

The villages were linked to extensive farmland, and the prisoners themselves grew most of the food consumed by both the prison population and the prison staff. Even prisoners with no background in farming were trained to farm, and this in turn became the basis of the agricultural economy of Garith, among both the prisoners and the freeborn and former prisoners.

As mentioned above, there were fishing boats on Garith. They were deliberately constructed to be somewhat fragile, suitable for local fishing work, but very chancy for a long sea voyage. They were small enough that they would have trouble carrying enough supplies for a voyage, and they were sail powered for the most part. They were also built with a shallow draft and little in the way of stability during harsh weather. They worked well enough in the local northern shallows, during calm weather, but they had little chance of enduring even modest oceanic storms or heavy winds.

This was sufficient for fishing purposes, because of the nature of the local seas. The ocean off the northern coast was shallow, and extended for over one hundred kilometers before falling off into the abyssal plains. The warm shallow water, the constant flow of nutrients from the rivers on the island, and a cold current coming in from the west combined to make the northern shallows very productive. The nets of the fragile fishing craft regularly pulled in large quantities of edible fish, and they simply remained in port when the weather turned harsh.

Though there was some herding on Garith, fish and a local version of beans were the primary protein sources for the population.

When the Terrestrians took control, the new administration found Garith a challenge and a problem on several levels. Allowing the former prisoners and freeborn natives who wished to depart to do so solved one issue, but created others by removing useful skills from the island work force.

Many former prisoners, and most of the freeborn natives, chose to remain, either because they had been born there and considered Garith home, or as long-time former prisoners had no place to go, or preferred to remain. Enough people remained on the island to have a viable gene pool (or rather two, Human and Vertaran) and a functional economy, but socially, matters were very difficult.

The entire population of Garith was made up either of prisoners of the Thak-Tarak regime, former prisoners of the regime, or descendants of such prisoners. Naturally, attitudes toward the outside world were complex and difficult. The Thak-Tarak regime was almost universally despised and hated by both the Humans and the Vertarans of Garith. Even though most of the Humans were themselves of Thak-Tarak descent, or full Clan members, they were also prisoners and tended to hate their jailors.

Still, the Humans were Thakarians, and as such many of the Vertaran prisoners loathed and hated the Human prisoners, and many of the Human prisoners had shared the Thakarian disdain for the native species. So even though the population was mostly unified in hating the Thak-Tarak rulers, they tended to at least dislike or distrust each other along species lines as well.

The Vertaran prisoners, themselves, came from any of hundreds of societies, cultures, and states across five continents. Some of them got along fine, others hated each other at least as much as they hated the Thakarians. This tendency was muted in their descendants, of course, but not absent.

Complicating matters was that along with political prisoners, both Human and Vertaran, the island was host to a substantial number of genuine violent criminals, who added their own tendencies into the social mix on Garith.

As a result, by the time the Terrestrians took control, and mostly still in 2124, the population of Garith is somewhat self-segregated. The two (relatively) large communities on the east coast of the island are partial exceptions, but even here, one town is mostly Human and the other is mostly Vertaran.

The villages scattered across Garith are almost all either Human or Vertaran in population, a member of the other species living full-time in a village of the other species is rare. The Vertaran villages themselves tend to line up along cultural, 'national', religious, and/or linguistic lines. Many Vertarans would find some of the other Vertaran villages at least as hostile as a Human village.

Humanoid nature being what it is, with such a mixed-species population, culturally hostile or not, cross-species pregnancies do happen on a regular basis. As a general thing, Humans and Vertarans are cross-fertile, but not extremely so. Pregnancies can happen from cross-species matings, but usually do not.

For unknown reasons, though, such cross-species hybridizations seem to happen more readily among the population of the island. There are several hundred such halfings on Garith at any given time. Given the inter-species tensions, such halfings often have difficulty finding acceptance among either parent species. As a result, there are a few villages made up almost entirely of halfling hybrids. Since they can not themselves reproduce, their population is renewed by cross-species pregnancies elsewhere.

The halfling population, naturally, is often tensely at odds with the other locals, since their villages are population mostly by exiles from the other villages. Baseline Humans, or pure Vertarans, are often unwelcome in these villages. As a result of local tensions, the three main halfling villages are somewhat separated from the other communities. One is located among the volcanic mountains of the south coast, one on the north coast far from any other villages, and one in a remote valley on the east side of the island.

These three villages are heavily armed, because Garith is a violent place, and the halflings are double-outcasts among the Garithi. The Thakarians limited the availability of modern weaponry, and as a result the most common armaments on Garith are knives, slings, swords, bows, and other such weapons that can be manufactured by local industry.

MORE LATER.
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Old 02-06-2024, 11:17 PM   #29
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE: VERANIS (Dyaxor A V) in 2123...

LATER.

The local industry and manufacturing potential of Garith is, obviously, limited. The population is small, disunified, and resources are limited. There is plentiful wood, for construction and fuel purposes, and stone cutting exists as a small local industry. There are blacksmiths, but the supply of metal is very limited, mostly coming from salvage of other metal objects and equipment.

(This is why swords exist in limited number and are something of a status symbol, there just is not very much metal to make them. Metal arrow points and spear points are a far more efficient use of limited resources.)

As noted, Garith is often a violent place, both due to the presence of violent individuals in the initial population, and because of the cultural friction between species and societies and faiths among the populace. Most of the villages are at least moderately well armed, albeit mostly with low-tech weaponry, and as a side-effect of the greater openness under Terrestrian rule, some modern weapons have been successfully smuggled onto the island as well.

Generally, each village claims a wide swath of farmland, pasture, or woodland around the village, and the villagers tend to be very territorial about their land, both for cultural and practical reasons. There are agreed-upon arrangements for crossing 'foreign' territory safely, and wise people follow those protocols, because many villages will unhesitatingly kill a stranger in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some villages have engaged in what amounts to warfare with others, and some feuds have gone on for decades, breaking into open violence periodically.

The Thakarian Wardens usually took a 'hands off' approach to inter-village disputes and troubles, up to and including tolerating open warfare and occasional mass slaughters. The Terrestrians are less tolerant on such matters, but must step carefully because the surest way to unite the locals against them would be to try too hard to restrict their internal disputes. The Administrator has a force of U.S. Marines in modern personal armor and with modern weaponry, and will intervene to stop large-scale fighting between villagers, but small-scale violence, vandalism, and occasional assassinations still go on.

Paradoxically (or not, historically such situations are not rare), the same villages that often war on each other also trade heavily. Some villages are farmers, some have pasture and herd or woodland, a few are near sources of stone that can be cut for building. The villages trade in food, hides, wood, charcoal, stone, the villages with blacksmiths do a limited amount of metal work (because of a limited amount of metal), but what work they do is highly valued in trade. A few villages have grist mills or other such facilities, and north coast villages supply seafood to the entire island.

Officially, the Three Power Administrator rules Garith. In practice, as elsewhere on Veranis, it is more a matter of negotiation and 'muddling through'. Each village has a headman, chief, mayor, or other such official who acts as a spokesman for the village to the Administrator, and to other villages.
The three relatively large towns have governing boards and mayors appointed by the Administrator.

Periodically, the Administrator gathers the village leaders for an assembly to settle disputes, negotiate, and try to smooth the waters, these assemblies are the closest thing Garith has to a local governing body.

The technology base on Garith is the usual dichotomous Veranisian mixture of ancient and modern. Electrical power is actually plentiful on Garith, a bank of sunpower tubes installed by the Thakarians provide more than sufficient energy for the prison itself and the needs of all the other locals. The sunpower tubes are Thakarian technology, but still fully operational in 2124.
[1]

Though energy is plentiful, under the Thak-Tarak regime availability was highly restricted, as a tool of control. The Terrestrian administration has permitted even the most remote villages to tap into the island power network. This has done a great deal to make the new regime more popular on Garith.

A similar situation existed regarding medical care. The Thakarians maintained a well-equipped infirmary at the prison core complex, with modern interstellar-tech level care. This was restricted to prison personnel, and 'special' prisoners, however. The new government has made modern medical care available to most of the islanders.

Communications on the island are modern, every village, even under the Thakarians, had at least one communication system able to reach other villages or the prison core. Since the new administration came in, that has only become more so, and communications links to the mainland are now common as well.

Even under the Thakarians, there was an island-wide fresh water system, even the remote villages have plentiful clean running water.

Transportation and farm life, on the other hand, is primarily based on animal power for most villagers. A common draft and riding animal on Veranis is a creature locally called a tharjak. It's actually a type of small dinosaur, that proved domesticable by the Vertarans long before the Thakarians arrived. The locals used tharjaks as draft animals for farming, and as riding animals, for millennia, and this use is still common Garith. Most farms have at least a couple of tharjaks to pull plows, turn grinding wheels, and otherwise do the work of the farm, and usually several tharjaks, including some trained for riding. Tharjaks are slow, as riding animals go, but they have tremendous endurance and are very strong, and can pull large loads easily.

Thus a typical farmer on Garith Island might live in a house with electrical power, many modern communications devices, refrigeration and modern heating and cooling devices (especially since the Terrestrian regime opened up regular commerce with the mainland), but the farm is animal powered and trips to visit neighbors are on tharjak-back. Tharjak-dung is a common fertilizer, as well.

Under Terrestrian rule, there is a regular shuttle to the Northlands, in the form of a 'flying boat' type aircraft that puts down at one of the eastern ports once a week, carrying cargo and passengers. The fragile, dangerous fishing boats are gradually being replaced by modern modern and safer and effective vessels as well.

MORE LATER.


[1] For more about sunpower tubes see here: Sunpower Tubes
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Old 02-11-2024, 11:00 PM   #30
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE: VERANIS (Dyaxor A V) in 2123...

RAMON CALVO (Administrator of Garith in 2124)

Age: 50
Height: 6'0"
Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue

IQ: 12
DX: 10
ST: 11
HT: 10/12 (split HT due to biotechnic enhancement)

Appearance: [handsome]

ADVANTAGES:
Administrative Rank 3 [Administrator of Garith Island and Garith Prison]
Charisma 1
Common Sense
Empathy
Legal Enforcement Powers [Administrator of Garith Island and Garith Prison]
Secret Advantage [latent psion]
Security Clearance [Commission Staff 3, Argentine Diplomatic Corps 3]
Status 1
Wealth [comfortable]

DISADVANTAGES:
Code of Honor [diplomat]
Duty [Argentine Diplomatic Corps, Three Power Commission, all the time, not usually hazardous, stressful]
Intolerance [Thak-Tarak Thane officers, Imperial military personnel, both -5]
Lecherousness [-10 level]
Phobia [snakes, -10]
Stubborn

QUIRKS:
1. Gluttony at -1 level
2. Collects pre-Columbian Argentinian artifacts
3. Vegetarian [will drink milk and use comparable animal products, though]
4. Weakness for female redheads
5. Early riser, prefers to be up before local dawn

SKILLS:

Area Knowledge(s):
Argentina 13
Buenos Aires 13
Cataka 12
Garith Island 12
Puerto Iguazu 15

Artist 11
Administration 14
Detect Lies 13
Diplomacy 13
Fast-Talk 12
First Aid 12
Guns [TL10] 12
History [Terrestrian] 10
Language(s)
Spanish [Argentinian dialect, native]
English 15 [fully literate]
Chinese 14 [fully literate]
Russian 12 [full literate]
Garith Creole* 11 (admits to only about 7)

Thakarian 12 [literate at 10]
Savoir-Faire 14
Sex Appeal 11
Writing 14

Ramon Calvo was born in the town of Puerto Iguazu in 2073, and spent his first eighteen years there. He attended college at Universidad de Buenos Aires, before being accepted into the diplomatic service. After two years of training at ISEN, he went on to assignments in the the Alpha Coalition joint diplomatic corps, and then was one of the diplomats assigned to the newly conquered planet Veranis.

On Veranis, Calvo had been present for about two years when he received what was simultaneously a prestigious and a dreaded assignment from the Three Power Commission that governed (loosely and sort of) the planet: he was assigned as the new Administrator of the island of Garith, in the middle of the vast ocean that filled almost all of one hemisphere of Veranis. The island was the sight of what had been a very harsh Thakarian prison complex, and which was still being used as a prison by the Three Powers, albeit with a far smaller cast of inmates and far more humane conditions.

As Administrator, Calvo was both the effective Warden of the Prison, and also the governor of a very diverse and highly fractious population of former prisoners and descendants of prisoners, who were technically free. It was both a difficult position, and one that could lead to tremendous career opportunities if handled well, and ignominy if handled badly.

As of early 2124, Calvo has been the Administrator for not quite two years, and so far has managed to maintain order, supervise a program to deal with the problems of the free population of the island, and prevent any massacres or outbreaks of local warfare. He has also developed stomach ulcers, in spite of the efficiency of the biotechnical enhancements, from the stress of the role.

Calvo has a knack for languages, and has learned to understand the local creole widely spoken on the island by the locals. He actually has a fairly good understanding of the creole, but pretends to have a much lower level of comprehension, leading people to sometimes speak more openly near him than they otherwise would. [1]

Calvo has a dual mandate in his capacity as warden of the prison. Though he is technically the full Warden, in practice the prison is run day to day by one of his deputies, with a background in penal work. Calvo and his deputy are charged with keeping order in the prison and keeping the prisoners secure, but also with ending the brutal, often savage practices the Thakarians had used in running the prison. These goals often conflict.

Calvo has found it useful to allow his deputy to be the 'heavy' who runs the prison day to day, while he plays the role of the sometimes sympathetic, 'reasonable' superior who keeps his deputy under control. This division of roles is partly an act both men engage in deliberately, but it has a basis in reality, his deputy is inclined to a more strict approach by personality.

Calvo personally finds the brutality of the techniques the former Thak-Tarak managers of the prison used to be genuinely repulsive. This has grown intense enough that Calvo has developed an emotional intolerance toward members of the Thak-Tarak Clan 'enforcement arm'. He carefully disciplines this, but it is always present when he must deal with anyone associated with that organization. [2]

Which is not to say that Calvo is soft. On those occasions when it was necessary, fractious prisoners have discovered that Calvo is fully capable of ordering the use of force to keep order (though usually in such cases he acts through his deputy to maintain the 'good warden bad warden' front).

Calvo is unmarried, and actually has a womanizing streak that he watches himself carefully over. When he does indulge it, his natural good looks and high social status tend to make him fairly successful.

Calvo has had a quirk-level extra attraction to redheaded women since he was a teenager. This sometimes causes him issues on Veranis, where the vast majority of the local Vertaran population are redheaded.

Calvo grew up in Puerto Iguazu, which was a heavily fortified military city in his teenage days. Adjacent to the border between Argentina and the Imperial Dominion of Brazil, the town had a tense atmosphere, and this left Calvo with an intolerant attitude toward Imperial military personnel. This might have limited him in his diplomatic career, except that it is widespread in Argentina, at a slightly less intense level.

MORE LATER.

[1] The former prisoners, and descendants of prisoners, who live of Garith derive from hundreds of Veranisian tribes, nations, faiths, etc, with a huge disparity of languages. A 'creole' combining elements of most of these, along with some influence from Thakarian langauge, has come to be the common language of Garith. It has no written form, being a purely verbal language. When writing is used among the Garithi, it usually Thakarian, ironically, because that was the language of the prison administration.

[2] Examples of the Thak-Tarak prison discipline included the use of intense electric shocks, repeatedly to the point of unconsciousness, for such offenses as concealing food or verbal disrespect. Other punishments included deprivation of water for 24-36 hours at a time, sensory deprivation, and in some cases skinning alive, for what Terrestrians consider to be, at most, modest infractions of the rules. It was also considered completely legal and socially acceptable, under Thak-Tarak control, for the administrators and guards to use prisoners for sexual purposes (there were some limits on this, but not many).
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