The Xa-Imperium


The Xa-Imperium as it is today.

When humanity first ventured to the stars, the Xa-Imperium was much larger than it is today. The Esperanzan Commonwealth has seized the Corridor branch. To spinward, the Long Republic – another human state – has pushed them back almost to Xa-Xa (1615), their home world. To trailing, their “Bol” slave species has rebelled and cut them off from everything beyond Braettap (2212).

The head of a XaThe Xa are a short, warm blooded, bipedal species. They have no body hair, pale skin and large eyes. They strongly resemble “Greys” from ancient Earth conspiracy theories.

Procyon’s knowledge of the worlds of the Xa-Imperium is limited. The Esperanzans guard their intelligence jealously. Attempts to contact the Xa directly, by Jump-1+ via Epsilon Eridani (1817) have been met with understandable suspicion. The Xa have restricted humans to their frontier world of Kapteyn (1916), although in recent years they have conceded to allow “Dog-star” a Procyon corporation to set up a starport on Keid/Atlac-219 (2015).

Xa-Maxin (1514, B343AFE-A pop=10b)

archology_by_karanua-d351vorCity, archology, desert

The Xa frontier with humanity. A hi-pop industrial world that is home to a large fleet, positioned to discourage the Commonwealth from trying to interfere in Imperial affairs. Maxin is too small, and the atmosphere is too thin for Xa tastes. Nevertheless, its natural resources, and proximity to human trade routes make it invaluable.

Xa-Xa (1615, B5989BB-A pop=8b)

City, blue/green parkland, farm, forest, mountain, jungle

The Xa Imperial Capital, and home world. More than half of the planet’s land surface is made up of temple lands, and religious estates. Almost a billion people are either priests, or their servants or tenant farmers. The High Priest’s palace is a sprawling, grand, antique.

The Emperor’s estates take up half of the rest of the land – they are kept as wilderness preserves, hunting forests and vast formal gardens. The Emperor’s palace was destroyed by orbital bombardment during the last war with Esperanza. An ambitious replacement has been under construction for over 40 years – but technical difficulties, and shortages of resources continually push back the completion date. The Court inhabits a small corner of the construction site that has been completed as “temporary” quarters.

The vast bulk of the population are crammed into the remaining land area, or live on raft cities, or in orbital habitats. There are still many unrepaired bomb sites left over from the war. The main naval dockyard was completely destroyed – the site has been cleared, but reconstruction has yet to begin. The unemployment rate is astronomical. Most agriculture is done in seagoing algae tanks, which produce a nutritious sludge in a variety of unappetising flavours. Many basic foodstuffs need to be imported to support the population. The transport fleet is depleted, and ill-maintained, making the food supply chain somewhat tenuous. Some food items are rationed. Supermarket shelves are often empty.

The world’s space elevator was destroyed by the Commonwealth during the last war. The devastated ruins of the world’s former main starport still lies at its foot.

Tau Ceti (1616, D100342-5 pop=8000)

Lunar. Human colony

Tau Ceti was a prime target for the second wave of sub-light colonisation from Earth. At the time, it was believed to be a prime candidate for having an Earth-like world. When the colonists arrived, they were horrified to discover that the system contains only gas giants, and inhospitable rocky planets.

30 years later, a Xa expedition found the struggling colony, and offered to help them set up as a mining colony for the Xa Imperium. Today, the colony has regressed to minimal tech for living on a vaccuum world. The inhabitants live in underground caverns and live on vat-grown algae. The population diminishes every year as youngsters hitch rides with any passing ships that will carry them.

Kapteyn (1916, C6B149C-7 pop=60k)

A Titan-like world. Human colony

A formerly barren world, recently colonised by humans to act as a jump-1+ bridge between the Core worlds, and the Xa Imperium. Governed by the Kapteyn Agency – an agency of the Earth Union government, it is now garrisonned by Commonwealth troops. The Xa Emperor originally gave his blessing to the colony, but has complained on several occasions to the Commonwealth ambassador about the garrison.

Kapteyn also lies on the principle trailing trade route from Xa-Xa. The Emperor maintains a naval presence in the system, and controls access to the two gas giants.

The world itself has a methane atmosphere. Kapteyn’s star is a red dwarf, so agriculture is difficult, even under glass. Colonists live in buried habitats, and domed areas on the surface. There is a small conference facility, maintained to encourage trade and discource between humans and Xa.

Keid / Atlac-219 (2015, C300278-7 pop=900)

This is a basic starport, built on an airless gas giant moon. The Xa Imperium pays for the upkeep of the starport, mid-way between Xa-Xa and Xa-Patroone. Humans from Procyon have built a second starport facility on a different moon of the same gas giant. They call the moon “Vulcan”, after a fictional planet in this system. They are selling fuel more cheaply, and hope to win custom away from the “official” port.

Other worlds

Little is known of the other worlds in the Xa-Imperium.

Garrael (1614) A religious retreat world.

Porrl Belt (1714) A mining colony. Source of magnetic monopoles.

Pra’xo (1716) There is a small population of Xa on this Mars-like world.

Broppin (1815) A Xa agricultural colony.

Corpak (2014) Headquarters of Vorlac. A trading corporation, also known for manufacturing construction nanites.

Marrapl (2113) Desolate.

Xa-Patroone (2114) Major Xa world. Currently being blockaded by the Xa Navy.

Braettap (2212) Desolate. Currently being interdicted by the Xa Navy. This has cut off the entire trailing Main from trade with the Xa.

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  1. alex said,

    15 December, 2014 @ 10:13

    Facebook comments:

    Andy Miles A couple of things spring to mind, I’ll address the lesser first as it is probably easier to answer. So, only a very minor question, but when the space elevator at Xa-Xa was destroyed which way did the cable go? Up or down? Secondly, and the major point, is what are the Xa like in terms of a society? We’re getting tiny glimpses and to me they’re all pointing towards a c19th Chinese analog. Are they tied to a vast, glacial paced bureaucracy? Do they have a system of etiquette that is almost unfathomable to humans? Does their ancient culture bitterly resent these upstart newcomers to space but find their moribund systems powerless to respond? I potentially see huge parallels with the Opium Wars and Boxer Rebellion periods (1840+/- to about 1900+/-).

    Alexander Tingle Good questions. The lower half of the space elevator crashed to the ground, with an effect similar to a multi-megatonne blast.

    Alexander Tingle The Xa play a role similar to that of the Ottoman Empire in the real world. They have an extremely powerful priesthood, obviously. I imagine something similar to modern Iran, where there are two almost competing power structures, the religious and the secular. They are a highly stratified society. At the bottom is the “Bol” slave race, with a nobility at the top. In between, there is a mixture of feudalism and corporatism.

    Not sure about etiquette. It’s not a monolithic state – there are plenty of aliens, so I suspect they are fairly cosmopolitan.

    Andy Miles Again referring back to “Mars” the cable was about 35,000km long and so whipped around the equator twice over when it fell…

    Andy Miles Whilst the Xa society is highly stratified is there any mobility within that or are you bound to your “caste”? Whilst the society is stratified is the species, as a whole, dynamic or fairly static? How do they respond to innovation? In the Chinese analogy that I was envisioning the whole bureaucratic set up would be designed to prevent innovation and maintain stability. Are the Xa so alien that they will forever be “the aliens” or are they sufficiently similar that one could, at some point, be played as a PC?

    Alexander Tingle Xa are reasonably human-like in their outlook. They could certainly be PCs.

    Alexander Tingle Castes seem to be a common theme in my fictional worlds. I need to get more creative.

    Matt Fitzgerald Yes. Caste them away

    Tony Jones Some comments and questions:

    I agree that the Xa sound much more like imperial China after the Opium Wars than the Ottomans.

    How is their society set up? How monolithic is it?

    Do they have internal factions that weaken them? Are these sub-groups something humans could have exploited during the war?

    How do they have children, look after them etc.?

    Are they monogamous, polygamous or something else? What sexual dimorphism do they exhibit? What is their lifespan? How quickly do children mature? How are they treated? How are they raised? By parents, communally or something else?

    Did humans win the war because the Xa had stagnated? If not how did the humans win?

    It sounds like they are a theocracy. That being so are there any democratic or meritocratic elements in their government or elsewhere in their society? If not is that why they stagnated (if they did)?

    Even if not a theocracy, religion is clearly very important to the Xa. What is their religion like? How does it affect their behaviour and responses to the universe? Does it make them vengeful, submit to fate, work to improve the world and themselves, or what?

    Do they have other religions? How do they get on with the main one?

    How do the religion and emperor get on?

    Is their military religious or under the emperor? Or both? Are (some of?) their battle fleets religious organisations?

    Do they have internal dissidents? Exiles in human space? ‘Traitors’ working for the humans?

    Are there Xa groups wanting to overthrow the current failed system to eventually defeat humanity and restore the Xa to their ‘rightful place’?

    Alexander Tingle What a fantastic series of questions. I already know the answers to some of those questions, but I’m keeping them from the players. Many of the other questions are great food for thought – not just for the Xa, but for any novel alien race. Thank you.

    Tony Jones Well, if you want some aliens, I’ve got a few here:

    Alexander Tingle The Xa are deliberately not too “weird”.

    Tony Jones Also, what is the Xa attitude to Xa (and other sentients) rights? Are all Xa created equal or not? I’m guessing not!

    Andy Miles They clearly don’t see the Bol as created equal if they’re a slave race! Going with the present day Iranian analogy, and picking up on some of Tony’s ideas above, the military could be split into the equivalent of the regulars and the Pasdaran. If the two parts don’t co-operate terribly well that could have lead to a weakness that the humans were able to exploit to achieve victory.

    Alexander Tingle To start with, the Xa lost wars to humans because they were fighting over marginal territory that the Xa didn’t care about. Eventually the humans got hold of technology that gave them a strategic and tactical edge. Jump-1+ both allows humans to skip over voids, and allows them to arrive in a system very far away from the jump point. Suddenly, the Xa needed far more ships to defend a system, and also had to defend far more systems! Their tradition of having gigantic battleships left them ill-equipped to deal with that.

    Finally, when the Long Republic turned on them too, they had to deal with grav technology. LR ships have much better drives, and their inertial dampers allow the crews to withstand much higher sustained accelerations.

    It’s true that the Xa are rather set in their ways, but anybody would have struggled when faced with that!

    Andy Miles Is the Xa failure to develop beyond Jump 1 a result of an innate conservatism? Is there a reason that, as far as we’re aware, they are still limited to Jump 1 if humanity has had J1+ for over a century?

    Alexander Tingle As far as you are aware, no other civilization in the history of the galaxy has exceeded jump-1. One of the fundamental assumptions of the setting is that it’s exceedingly difficult to progress beyond TL10. I’m not going to try and defend that as realistic, it’s entirely for dramatic effect.

    Andy Miles Dramatic effect is a perfectly good justification!

    Alexander Tingle Furthermore, innovations beyond TL10 are naturally resistant to reverse engineering, especially from civilisations that are not nearby in that TL track.

    Andy Miles You mention a Xa tradition of huge warships. Why did the Xa have warships? Who had they previously fought? Who did they envisage fighting in the future? Do they engage in ground combat (or does anyone do that on any appreciable scale)?

    Andy Miles Do the Xa have different ethnicities?

    Alexander Tingle Xa don’t like ground combat, although they do have warrior monks who sometime function as an army.

    In the last few centuries, only the Spiders have challenged them from outside. There have been a number of rebellions, both from within their own ranks and from subject aliens. Together, the Bol and the humans (Esperanzan Commonwealth, and Long Republic) have dismembered their empire.

    Prior to that, there are tales of them warring with the Khigrish (who lie somewhere to Spinward), but aside from that, no data.

    Alexander Tingle Correction. I said that Xa have castes, but I now have no idea where I got that from. They don’t, and nothing I wrote suggests that they do.

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