by Max Barry

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Sangueluna | The Sanguelunan Federation

Sangueluna, officially the Sanguelunan Federation, is an intergalactic country situated in the Milky Way galaxy. The Sanguelunan Federation had its roots in the planet Tamarha where all Lahmians originate from. The Lahmian homeworld, Tamarha, was characterized by its archipelagic clusters, volcanic activity, megadiversity, sectarian politics and tribalism. The nature of Tamarha's surface contributed to geographic isolation which then gave way to the fracturing of the Lahmians into multiple subspecies. Lahmian civilizations revolved around ones membership to a species but upon the discovery of shipbuilding, further political splintering and conflict took place. Lahmian culture was generally dominated by tendencies towards iconoclasm and unrest. Absolute elective monarchies, oligarchic theocracies and tribal democracies were generally the most dominant ways that Lahmians organized their societies, although there existed notable examples of representative democracies in Lahmian history. The most notable event in modern Lahmian history was the Tamarhan Domination Wars. The series of conflicts in question resulted in the progressive inhabitability of Tamarha, resulting in a mass exodus of Lahmians off-planet by way of arkships. These arkships organized themselves into a caravan, searching for their next homeworld.

270 AD - 620 AD: Tamarha's decline and the discovery of Yvresse

Access to space was a long-coveted goal among the Lahmian denizens of the planet, Tamarha. Unfortunately, most were too engrossed in the business of war and differences, both racial and cultural, between members of the Lahmian genus were too great to overcome. On 4 June, 207 AD, the impetus of war was too addictive for most to resist and the Tamarhan Domination Wars ignited and spread to all four corners of Tamarha. Yet, there were regions and nations across the planet of Tamarha that resisted, looking to the endless void for some much-needed breathing space. One of those nations was Sangueluna.

Noor-class Arkship / Pesule-class support ship
In the century preceding Tamarha’s demise, Sangueluna, alongside a number of its steadfast allies, would become the pioneer of space travel, while also using their advancements to buy themselves more time to escape the worldwide cold war that had boiled over into a mosh pit of anger and death. From the moment Sangueluna was able to field and fit faster than light drives onto their spaceships, Sangueluna began to organize outbound treks to escape a deteriorating Tamarha. Over the century, larger and more sophisticated ships were built to ferry an increasing number of refugees who saw no hope to live on Tamarha any longer, even allowing shiploads of refugees originating from their rivals. Still, bearing the mentality of a crab, some of Sangueluna’s rivals attempted to shoot down their arkships and succeeded on a few occasions, hoping to bring Sangueluna back down to Tamarha, literally and figuratively. Few could emulate Sangueluna’s astronaval developments and those who did were already cooperating.

Sangueluna's most common arkship model, the Noor-class, was designed with the intention of providing a relatively comfortable life for the duration of a colonist's lifespan. Food reserves sustained by on-board cellular agriculture and controlled aeroponics were the primary source of sustenance for colonists. Water reserves sustained by moisture recycling and asteroidal water harvesting were the primary source of hydration for Lahmian consumption, chemical synthesis and agriculture. Weighing in at 18 million metric tons and housing 3,000 colonists on average, with an upper limit of 6,000 colonists, the Noor-class was outfitted with the necessary tools and facilities to maintain its structure and systems over multiple decades. Each Noor-class also had sufficient space to safely store 24 Hadépée-class corvettes, a bulky and capable ship that's suited primarily for mining and trading.

Each Noor-class was accompanied by at least five Pesule-class support ships. A Pesule-class's ultimate role was to act as logistical support for a Noor-class, replenishing their reserves thanks to its own production capabilities and storage capacity. While each Noor-class was designed to be self-reliant and sufficient, the Pesule-class existed to act as a necessary backup in case a Noor-class experienced system-wide failures or structural failures at worst. When such a situation occurs, the Noor and Pesule-class mirror a naval procedure known as Replenishment at Sea (RAS) in order to transfer supplies from one another while on the move. At best, the Pesule-class could comfortably shoulder the burden of a Noor-class, allowing one to pause their systems and conserve energy.

As the century progressed, an incessant cycle of famine, climate change and resource depletion gripped Tamarha. The grimmer the planet’s habitability looked, the more states and tribes resorted to desperate and destructive weapons to put an end to hostilities, only achieving a greater death toll. In a humorously grim twist of fate, the planet saw its most peaceful years when the supply of able-bodied combatants reached an all time low, giving the people of Tamarha some respite from war. Only through death was peace achieved. The Lahmians were a shadow of their former selves and it was for the best. The planet had reached its point of no return and soon enough, it would expel the Lahmians from its embrace. In the last decade of peace, the leftover Lahmians, free from the rivalries cultivated by their countrymen, united in their desire to flee Tamarha and atone for what they’ve done to one another.

369 AD was the year that hosted the last series of expeditions fleeing Tamarha in hopes of finding greener pastures, far from the noise of war. Millions were still stranded upon Tamarha but at the very least, they died in peace as life progressively became harder and harder to live. Eventually, Lahmian civilization met its end in Tamarha but its legacy was being carried on into the stars now.

The journey to find a new world was unforgiving. Life in the void was harsh for the Lahmian pioneers. Many generations would pass until one lucky ark discovered a continental planet similar to Tamarha, only it was many light years away from its carcass. A homing signal was broadcast out and eventually, an influx of Lahmian refugees arrived at and convened on this new homeworld which they called Yvresse. Not every ark that set out was lucky enough to find Yvresse. Regardless, a good majority of the arks that set out were able to touch down on Yvresse. Sangueluna was reborn on Yvresse’s welcoming soil.

Unbeknownst to them, Sangueluna was next door to an alien race, one not too different in appearance but still distant to their Lahmian ways of living. Still, the people who the Sanguelunans came to know as the Albalians carried flowers and friendship, rather than arms and ammunition. Although none from Sangueluna could ignore Albali’s strength in arms, many found themselves comfortable in leaning on their neighbors for support and soon enough, the Albalians helped bring their new neighbors up to speed, cementing their position in the galaxy after 250 years of exile and exploration.

620 AD - 625 AD: Sangueluna's small beginnings and first contact with Albali

On February 18, 620, the weary colonists touched down on Yvresse. They soon found themselves galvanized to make use of the materials and equipment that they've been holding onto in their arks for several generations. Many began to disembark and organize themselves into exploratory parties, supervised by the respective cadre of officers that ran the ark they came from. Despite the harrying that such parties received from the flora and fauna of Yvresse as they traversed its length and breadth, most were in high spirits, desperate to make something of the situation that their forebears shoved them into.

The planet, Yvresse

Eventually, anudinas (English: Community) for sprang up across Yvresse's earth. Each one swiftly made contact with their surrounding neighbors after settling down, hoping to pool their resources and tame the harsh alien wilderness. On the first-year anniversary of discovering Yvresse, the myriad of settlements that housed the Lahmian settlers decided to celebrate this monumental achievement, creating a week long holiday known as the 'Euladia' festival. A settler could celebrate themselves however way they wished. However, Euladia ended up consisting of four main themes: Hunting, foraging, cooking, film and the reconstruction of ancient monuments.

The first three themes were popularized due to an ever-growing need to exploit the surrounding fauna and flora to create new dishes and shift the nation's agricultural focus. Smoked Auroch meat rolls with sautéed maitakes were the dishes the won the hearts of most Lahmians! Some still persisted in their belief that ribbon-chopped Anqilay broth should've won the day.

In regards to the last theme, wealthy antiquarians back on Tamarha purchased the rights to all sorts of ancient structures and monuments that they deemed to be of cultural importance and proceeded to dismantle them, piece by piece, so they could be shipped off-planet and find a new home somewhere in the void, instead of on a dying planet. Now thanks to the momentous Euladia festival, people could organize the restoration of antiqued ruins and artifacts, granting them a place on Yvresse.

Amidst the cheer and comfort offered by the Euladia festival, this was also the first time where the settlers decided to keenly discuss the future of their governance. Their first course of action was to name their newly founded country, Sangueluna, and this was in honor of the Tamarhan nation of the same name that made the discovery of Yvresse possible with their efforts. The existence of alien life had already been confirmed by Yvresse's existence but the Sanguelunans were too caught up with laying the foundations of their new home.

Now that Sangueluna had been formed, the government's first order of business was to commission an exploratory military unit, called the Pioneer Corps. This unit had integral parties attached to them. Most notably, a cadre of professors, interns and scientists tagged along with the Pioneer Corps. The Pioneer Corps had a number of objectives that they were expected to pursue and still do so to this day. When it came to Sanguelunan expansion, the Pioneer Corps were tasked with scouting out a habitable planet's surface and respective, study its geography and mark out potential areas for future colonization or exploitation. The Pioneers Corps were also expected to be on the lookout for any signs of alien intelligence and strictly report any evidence or encounter back to the Sanguelunan central government.

The efforts of the Pioneer Corps bore fruit eventually, having been pinged by a distant bulky mass in space out of the blue. It didn't take long for Isaia Darwel, captain of the Pioneer Corps, to receive a hail from the alien ship in question. Video feed was shot up and the Pioneer Corps were presented with an astonishing display. They saw what they described as an anthropomorphic being with elasmobranchii features. The being's caudal fins, snout and serrated teeth were its most notable aspects and the Lahmians were engrossed by its relatively bizarre appearance. On the spot, a member of the crew muttered 'Qashmaka', meaning 'Unending Knives' and referring to the alien's sharp teeth. The Pioneer Corps decided to report this being by that name and Isaia attempted to communicate with the equally-excited Qashmaka. Unfortunately, bar the few breakthroughs in body language that indicated they meant no harm to one another, Isaia and the Qashmaka in question would not be able to understand one another. Still, they departed on friendly, if frustrated, terms. The Pioneer Corps quickly reported back to Yvresse on their groundbreaking discovery. Such promising news quickly spread among the populace and many were excited to know that they were truly not alone in the galaxy and possibly break bread with their new neighbors.

Within a week's time from first contact, Yvresse found itself welcoming an alien diplomatic mission. The Sanguelunans inferred that the mission wished to bridge the gap between their respective civilizations. Sanguelunan representatives offered the alien mission room and board while they rallied the nation's brightest linguists in order to solve the issue of language. For two months, Sanguelunan linguists would engage with the alien mission and made stunning progress understanding one another, learning of each other's names, stories and cultures as well as slowly decrypting each other's languages.

These aliens were known as Albalians, hailing from The Albali Republic. Their interstellar nation was founded by two species, the Ausari and Aquariians. it was discovered that the diplomatic mission was made up university affiliates and faculty, particularly of explorers, xenobiologists and linguists. The Albalians learnt of Sangueluna's plight and sympathized with their suffering. Both parties connected deeply with one another and looked forward to a future full of cooperation. The curiosity of both sides quashed their initial worries and skepticism.

Before the Albalian mission departed, the Sanguelunans offered their new neighbors symbolic brooches that indicated they were always welcome in Sanguelunan space and if their kin were just as pleasant as they were, then all of Albali would be welcome in Sangueluna. The Albalian mission were touched by the gesture and finally returned back home, publishing their discoveries and duly informing the Albalian government of their experiences in Sangueluna. Soon enough, Albali would roll out the welcome wagon and make official contact with Sangueluna.

625 AD - 640 AD: Sangueluna's successes and the Albalian dilemma

On the 21st of August, 625, a diplomatic mission, accompanied by a reasonably-sized escort of Albalian warships, were detected exiting hyperspace within the Skadi Star System. They had soon cruised their way into Yvresse's orbit, ferrying their delegation onto the planetary surface. Sangueluna was in no panic or rush to meet them when news of the Albalian's arrival was diffused amongst the populace. Most were reserved with their excitement, preferring to let a hastily organized company of anudina representatives, diplomats, analysts, scholars and officers represent Sangueluna on the galactic stage of politics.

2030 AD - 2038 AD: War Against Heaven

Near the edges of the civilized galaxy, scarce reports of disappearances began to accumulate. Communications to the frontier steadily began to be cut off. A curtain of insidious darkness was slowly enveloping the fringes of the Milky Way. Interstellar nations eventually took note of these disturbances and began to organize a reaction to what was nibbling at the roots of their societies.

Strings of Sanguelunan disappearances had been reported in foreign space. The central government took note and organized an expeditionary force to investigate the last known locations but only a week into the investigations, the force went dark. Sangueluna, alongside other nations, began to express their concern with such recent events. Individuals disappeared at first but soon after, fringe settlements began to go silent. The looming, unidentified threat had become a pressing matter for every interstellar civilization within the Milky Way. Sangueluna had collaborated with Albali and other like-minded nations to mobilize their martial forces in an attempt to confront this galactic specter that had been terrorizing the Milky Way. With this campaign in force, Sangueluna would finally learn about the true nature of the threat, suitably named 'The Umbral Ones'.

The Umbral Ones coasted in giant, jagged masses of black rock, melding with the backdrop of space. Any attempts at communication with them only resulted in being replied with quiet, static chatter. They had nothing to say. The relative silence of the Umbral Ones unnerved the Sanguelunans and inevitably resulted in the escalation of hostilities. Seconds after, the Umbral Ones silently punished them, bending and breaking ships.

Exterior and interior view of typical single-family detached houses

In the year of 620, Sangueluna's economy started off relatively small as befitting its place in the galaxy, geared towards providing the necessary products and services for the maintenance of Sangueluna's population. Food, beverage, construction, textile, entertainment, electronic and pharmaceutical industries served as the initial bedrock of Sangueluna's economy. A handful of decades after their colonization of Yvresse, Sangueluna's heavy industry, particularly its shipbuilding and astromining sectors, would find itself accelerated significantly in no small part to Albali's investments and contributions.

Housing and Construction

In Sangueluna, 84.7% of the resident population live in planetary-bound anudina housing, whose ownership is transferred to the citizenry who occupy the house or housing unit in question upon completed construction. 92.5% of residents in Sangueluna are homeowners, with the most common form of housing being single detached houses, duplex houses and multifamily condominiums. Public residential housing developments are managed by local municipalities, regulated and supervised by the federal government of Sangueluna. 10.9% and 4.4% of residents live in off-planet orbital habitats and ships respectively, the latter of which is a wholly private and unregulated concept.

Sanguelunan architecture is an assortment of Tamarhan architecture that had been passed on through surviving literature, art and technical visualizations. A popular feature of Sanguelunan architecture is bilateral symmetry. Many Sanguelunan buildings or building complexes enclose open spaces within themselves, mainly as an integrated system for light and ventilation. Naturally occurring building materials, particularly wood and stone, undergo compositing and compaction before being used for construction. There is a heavy emphasis on reprocessing and recycling waste and scrap, a culture which had been ingrained in the minds of Lahmians since the days of their so-called preservation expedition to Yvresse. Microgrid, fuel cell, water catchment and photovoltaic systems are a key aspect of proliferating decentralized energy and infrastructural independence across the multitude of Sanguelunan anudinas.

With the Lahmians uprooted from their old homeworld of Tamarha, great parts and pieces of Sanguelunan culture had been left to decay and fester on their now-inhospitable homeworld. The arduous journey to Yvresse overshadowed the few surviving cultural traditions practiced onboard until eventually, they had lost their meaning to the Lahmians who were much too busy drowning in the joy of arriving to Yvresse. The intense emotion associated with Yvresse's colonization gave birth to a new set of values and traditions, with Yvresse being the bedrock of Sanguelunan culture. Sangueluna's values early in its interstellar history were often considered to revolve around a general sense of non-aggression, stewardship and free information.

At the time, the lack of heavy industry and impotent weaponry, coupled with the pervasive memory of Tamarha's desolation, meant that early Sanguelunans were rather reluctant to assume any sort of confrontational stance or tone with other alien civilizations, lest they find their migratory achievement undone by the wrong words at the wrong time.

With Yvresse possessing relatively moldable and hospitable ecosystems to the Lahmian vision, the Sanguelunans placed a significant spiritual value on the planet and everything within its atmosphere. A great emphasis was placed on maintaining the beauty and stability of the environment, especially since Sanguelunan academics were particularly worried that any sort of environmental defacement could put local ecosystems at risk and by extension, the survival of the Sanguelunans.

In Sanguelunan society, freedom of information is a given, especially during the early days of Yvresse's colonization where people were willing and motivated to share whatever information that could help the Lahmian race sustainably tame and settle across Yvresse's length and breadth. Open knowledge is a key aspect of Sanguelunan civilization, as early settlers regularly exchanged information with one another regarding how best to maintain and manage their communities.