Second Karalian Empire
The Second Karalian Empire was a polity that was founded following the supernova of the red supergiant known as Eye of Uszaroth. The entirety of the first Karalian Empire consolidated into the Jar system located in the Krizael Expanse. This forced a complete government reform establishing the new capital world as the planet Jaran.
The Jar system was the final bastion of Karalian Empire (KE) civilization during the Anathema Wars. The Greenwater Nebula was a hotspot for civil war incited by the Union of Eteno Socialist States (UESS) as well as the invasions by both LUCIS and the Anathema. In the Twin Hearts Nebula, an impending supernova by the red supergiant Eye of Uszaroth forced the mass evacuation of the systems in the area to include the Vaikan homeworld of Ucharpli. Although the Krizael Expanse suffered damage from the initial invasion by the UESS, the Jar system was able to endure. Out of necessity, it became a planet where refugees across the galaxy fled to in the wake of the collapse of not only the KE and UESS, but the entire Second Galactic Senate. Jaran's population swelled into the trillions forcing rapid accommodations for the hundreds of different sapient species that entered the area. This was a gradual process as the Karalian Empire had lost their jumpgate network due to the wars. Slower methods of FTL were required to travel between systems.
To ensure that the denizens of the Twin Hearts Nebula had enough time to evacuate, the last king of the Karalian Empire, Rustiagon Karrel, sacrificed himself by guiding some Anathema to devour Eye of Uszaroth. Although he stopped the total destruction of the Twin Hearts Nebula systems, the gamma radiation still rendered the habitable planets unsuitable for long term civilization. Karrel's actions did however allow for the logistics of the evacuation to be a much smoother process. Karrel designated his adopted brother Rustiagon Ardan as the next king.
The loss of administrative control over both the Greenwater Nebula and the Twin Hearts Nebula directly lead to the center of government being reorganized in Jaran. The planet's city districts were redrawn to accommodate the influx of immigrants and refugees, and the bureaucracy and politics was heavily reshuffled to adapt to the new situation. Ardan reformed the Karalian Empire effectively from the ground up, and thus, it became officially known as the Second Karalian Empire.
Adaptation of the government
The loss of the Karalian jumpgate network meant that Jaran became heavily isolated from other civilizations. This did not stop the amount of refugees and immigrants from entering the system however as they used slower methods of FTL to reach the system. This gave Jaran the necessary time to build an infrastructure to support them although in one hundred years, the population grew by 900%. Thus, the planet would soon become an ecumenopolis. Despite the war, the Karalian Empire was able to maintain its status as a post-scarcity economy. In a ruined galaxy, Jaran was considered one of the few remaining jewels of civilization that was left. Although most of the planet was civilized and gentrified, some sections still contained Dark Zones where a criminal underworld was highly active.
One hundred years after the end of the Anathema Wars, Jaran had finally been established as a stable society. The influx of immigrants and refugees had passed. However, Jaran still remained an isolated world due to the lack of jumpgates. Ardan wished to build further relations with other kingdoms and civilizations that had survived the war. One of his first moves was to establish relations with the Okhnavayan Democratic Systems Federation (ODSF), a polity that originated from the remnants of the UESS that still had access to jumpgates. Many parts of the galaxy closeby had opted for a feudal structure with a monarchy style of government, and thus, Ardan took part in the same practices. Ardan was to marry Queen Kadija from the ODSF.
Attempted assassination of Ardan
Although the Second Karalian Empire had been successful over the past century, there were some that disliked Ardan for one reason or another. A terrorist group called Regicide viewed Ardan as a dictator and attempted to kill him. This would force Ardan into hiding among Jaran's Dark Zones. The High Earls would run the government in his absence. However, there were rumors that Regicide was working directly with the lower echelons of the bureaucracy in an attempt to form a coup. Ardan did not give up. He would turn to Queen Kadija for aid.
The government structure still had traces of its old system, but the reformations were drastic enough that it was more or less an entirely new regime. Much of the government's specific inner workings had been restructured to support Jaran's higher population density. The center of government was located in a large floating city in low orbit known as Krizael Palace.
- Monarch - The current monarch Rustiagon Ardan. His term lasted at least one hundred years.
- High Earls - Noble councilmen who were experts in certain fields.
- Dukes - In the former Karalian Empire, the Dukes would rule over whole solar systems. Due to the empire's restructuring, they would instead rule over certain city districts. There was no loss in scope as the population of these city districts was comparable to the planets the Dukes used to rule over.
Dark Zones were similar to their First Karalian Empire counterparts. In Jaran, they were city districts or wilderness areas that were outside the system that had been established. Dark Zones on paper were considered designated lawless areas where responsibility was not taken by law enforcement or emergency services for whatever occurred there. Black market trade and traditional bartering often took place there. A complex criminal underground existed within the Dark Zones.
The government occasionally hired mercenaries or sent special ops to raid Dark Zones to gain reputation or to otherwise run ethically questionable, off the book operations.
The Second Karalian Empire like its predecessor was a post-scarcity economy although it had abandoned traditional currencies. While the first Karalian Empire did factor reputation into its economy alongside a fiat currency, the Second Karalian Empire used reputation as its sole means of trading goods. Basic necessities such as food and shelter were provided for free allowing one to live in comfortable isolation. However, to rise in social status and be recognized among peers, one needed to perform feats of reputation. Value was measured in the novelty of one's actions. For example, a traditionally cooked meal could be seen as more novel or valuable than one generated by a matter synthesizer.
Reputation was specifically measured on an individual basis through the use of a sophisticated cryptocurrency database. In a society where the advent of perfect cloning and genetic engineering was possible, perfect clones could be differentiated by measuring someone on a quantum level. The system was not completely foolproof as black markets existed in the Dark Zones to create fake identities.
Because of how negative the view of death is in Jaran, the cost was reputation to come back to life. Thus, a commodity on Jaran waws literal life insurance. If one were to die by an accident, they would be funded the ability to come back to life. Otherwise, it would be an out of pocket expense. However, permanent death and suicide was illegal. Anyone who chose to become a citizen of Jaran would have their brain data permanently backed up and would be unable to die. Despite this, if they couldn't pay, they would be put into limbo until someone was willing to pay for them to be revived.
The Code of Trust that was infamously present in the first Karalian Empire was no longer enforced as strictly. Displaying emotions as well as eating in public were now more tolerated. One could say it was a natural maturation of Vaikan society's ability to have mutual understandings of what was and what wasn't acceptable in public. A direct result of this had been a major boost in culinary development.
Nuclear families were not the standard as they had been in the past. A Vaikan could choose to live with someone else such as family and friends but it was not wholly necessary as every individual was entitled to housing to support just themselves. Blood relation was considered for the most part unimportant as advanced cloning and genetic engineering technology had rendered family lines for the most part obsolete.
Because any person could change their appearance to look like nearly anything including gender and species, relationships and companionships were often formed via personality. Multiple different types of sexuality that were once considered curious or quirky were just as commonplace if not more common than heterosexual relationships. However, a strong preference for the feminine and effeminate remained prevalent due to deep rooted historical ties to the sterility plague nearly one thousand years prior. Females were considered to be inherently powerful. They were the salvation of the Vaikan's survival during the late Fourth Age having been surrogate egg layers before the development of an efficient embryo creation system without a mother. The sterility plague had long since been cured among the Vaikan. The only reason why a Vaikan would opt to lay an egg would be for the novelty.
Vaikan food was described as having undergone massive improvements ever since the dissolution of strict enforcement of the Code of Trust. Although matter synthesizers were used to provide basic day to day needs, elaborate meals were a subject of great interest.
Most entertainment came from seeking out novel activities to do. Any sort of foreign goods or something that can draw attention to someone was something to commonly seek out. Adventuring or building one's social status by proving themselves of a variety of feats were not only a common form of work, but also entertainment.
For leisure, VR films and holograms were a common, easily accessibly form of entertainment. These could be historical retellings of past events in the Crucible Galaxy or completely fictional stories. Fantasy was a popular genre as a means of remaining in compliance about the rules against overly realistic VR's. VR's had also been used in a variety of self-care purposes such as relaxation, massages and other forms of pleasurable entertainment. Some of these forms of entertainment were acknowledged to exist, though it was considered rude to openly ask about one's own personal viewing habits.
Ancient, traditional forms of entertainment such as stage plays and live music concerts were also considered novelties.
Vaikan consisted of the overwhelming majority of Jaran's population. Most of the refugees from both Greenwater and Twin Hearts were from the Karalian Empire. The second highest population was the Eteno mostly made of those who either fled from the UESS-KE War or did not support it. The third most were the Drussiray who escaped to Jaran after the Anathema destroyed their homeworld of Zema.
More than 75% of citizens in Jaran did not have children. Jaran had almost reached its maximum population sustainability and new arrivals whether immigrated or born are rare. VR real-estate had also become commonplace. A large portion of the population could now spend time in extensive VR communities doing all business within the virtual world. Some had found this far preferable to the real-world.
There was no official religion in the Second Karalian Empire but some religions were more practiced than others. While many immigrants practiced traditional religions from their home worlds, the most predominant religion was the Dragon Daughters of Krayhan. The Dragon Daughters religion, while it started off as a form of paganism during the era of the Drallan Federal Monarchy around 7,000 years prior to the Anathema Wars, it evolved to become central to the lifestyle of many Jaranese people.
Worship of the Dragon Daughters involved three goddesses: Sashelma, Yoltoria and Kezoa. Each one embodied the traits of what would find in an ideal companion. Sashelma embodied harvest and fruitfulness, Yoltoria embodied loyalty and commitment, Kezoa embodied strength and the will of a warrior. They frequently appeared around the Second Karalian Empire as interactable holograms. Copies of these holograms could also be taken into one's household.
During the era of the first Karalian Empire, these goddesses were considered little more than amusements or self-fulfilling fantasies for many lonely Vaikan. However, during the Second Karalian Empire, their presence was taken a lot more seriously and became important to the lives of the Jaranese. It was common to see shrines dedicated to the goddesses. Whenever one passed by a shrine, it was common practice to leave a gift that would please the specific goddesses: food for Sashelma, a lit candle or lantern for Yoltoria, and a knife or other type of blade for Kezoa.
Traditional Jamzezism had mostly fallen into obscurity with the gods Krayhan and Morduin considered obscure relics of the past. However, a few of their belief systems such as a complex philosophy on the afterlife still carried over. It was still believed that a person's soul would remain after death so long as the person managed to make a name for themselves in life. Iconography of Krayhan and Morduin was still commonplace though they were mostly used for supplementary aesthetics rather than for religious purposes.
Worshipers of the evil goddess Deryani had become alarmingly commonplace especially within Dark Zones. Illegal VR's centered around her that involve simulating murders and even to simulate the experience of being killed by Deryani were in circulation in the criminal underworld.
Historically, Jaran had spoken both Yallvus Talk - the ancient language from Ucharpli, and Jaranese - another ancient language that developed in Jaran after the fall of the Drallan Federal Monarchy. Both languages were commonly used as the standard and most Jaran natives before the Anathema Wars were bilingual.
After the Anathema Wars, hundreds of thousands of different languages now existed in the Second Karalian Empire. Over the one hundred years it took for Jaran to grow to accommodate its massive population, a translator system was created that used the information gathered from these hundreds of thousands of languages and their dialects. Those with a translator implant would be able to toggle on and off whether they wanted to have alien languages translated so that they could understand them. However, being able to learn and speak other languages was considered a novelty as well as a means of increasing one's reputation.
Devices that could print out matter were in common place. These were 3D printed reconstructed objects down to the atomic level. Virtually any sort of object could be created such as food, clothing or various machines. The perfection of matter synthesis was key to the Karalian Empire achieving post-scarcity status.
Invented during the golden age of the Second Galactic Senate, Jaran's state of the art medical technology allowed an individual's brain data to be fully integrated with a cloud server. That is, even if someone were die, they could be brought back to life via a 3D printed reconstruction while the consciousness was downloaded into the new body. The technology was only experimental but saw rapid development after the Anathema began to invade. As an emergency program, in the event of the total destruction of the Crucible Galaxy, there would be a backup for minds from all over the galaxy to restart civilization again. Roving nomadic bands that had only heard stories of Jaran's technology referred to the place as a City of Immortals or as some sort of mystical afterlife.
Virtual Crucible and VR
Virtual Crucible was a highly sophisticated simulated environment that recreated the entire Crucible Galaxy that was known by the Galactic Senate. This was created specifically for citizens who wished to live in the galaxy as it was before the invasion of the Anathema. Simulations within these simulations also existed meaning that Virtual Crucible had some dangers. A condition known as VR madness could arise from thinking that the real world was just another simulation. A large number of participants in Virtual Crucible had to be quarantined in insane asylums as a result. As such, those who entered Virtual Crucible had to sign a liability agreement.
Because of the risk of VR madness, hyperrealistic virtual realities beyond Virtual Crucible were still outlawed. Thus, many VR designers deliberately introduced fantasy elements or other stylized aspects to help participants better distinguish between the real world and VR.
As a natural side effect of their ability to bring people back to life, perfect clones were very commonplace. Some people deliberately changed their appearance to look like anyone they desired. Celebrities such as Verina Mayn, war heroes such as Ahrganot Skizgo and historical figures such as Rustiagon Dralla were highly popular to use. This was considered a lifestyle over anything practical as the workplace of the Second Karalian Empire often preferred those who can make a name for themselves.
Crime and punishment
The population increase of Jaran and over industrialization had lead to a deterioration in the local ecology. In the most developed parts of Jaran, littering was considered a serious offense that could result in jail time. In the post Anathema era, the Karalian Empire in spite of its diminished influence was seeking to expand the immortality network to beyond the Jar system in an effort to preserve as many lives as they could. A few of these reconstruction stations had even been established in neighboring systems. Even space pirates had made use of the system to come back to life in the event they get caught in an unfortunate firefight that ended their life.
Because the death penalty was banned on Jaran, the punishment for severe crimes was to be put in a limbo state. A person's body was either destroyed or put into stasis while the mind went dormant for a certain amount of time. Many criminals, instead of going dormant, were instead linked to a VR prison - a self-contained virtual world with warden programs that prevented them from leaving until woken up from the outside. An unintended side effect was that after waking up from prison, many criminals began to suffer VR sickness where they had trouble distinguishing reality from the virtual.
Jaran became the location of the Kingsguard which was originally on Ucharpli. The Kingsguard as well as the local Dukesguard consisted of both soldiers and mercenaries who fight for the sake of reputation. Much of the same military ranks carried over from the original Karalian Empire. However, many of the KE's old starships were dismantled or repurposed as there was no longer a need to have such a large military in the post-Anathema Crucible Galaxy. Thus, the military of Jaran served the role of a national guard.