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27 Dec 2017 19:32 #57882 by brantley
Replied by brantley on topic At The Bright Empire....
Of course, there are other complications and contradictions. The first
Companions didn't realize that they would be so much more powerful outside the gold field -- and only after a number of years how much longer their lives would be. And their slavery was far less onerous than, say, that of blacks on Earth. In the new post-Companion era, P-1s are, or at least will be, forced to serve as Protectors; Alisa's rebellion against that is a major AU story line.

--Brantley

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27 Dec 2017 20:27 #57886 by shadar
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brantley wrote: Of course, there are other complications and contradictions. The first
Companions didn't realize that they would be so much more powerful outside the gold field -- and only after a number of years how much longer their lives would be. And their slavery was far less onerous than, say, that of blacks on Earth. In the new post-Companion era, P-1s are, or at least will be, forced to serve as Protectors; Alisa's rebellion against that is a major AU story line.

--Brantley


It's hard for me to justify one kind of slavery over another. Companions are high-end slaves, very expensive, but also sold primarily for their sexual pleasures. Forced to stand naked in a city square while potential buyers bid for them. Only later did their owners discover that they were very useful in other ways. Some of them even had brains. Some changed entire worlds.

But the point of having Companions in the AU was intended to be an example of how people can overcome adversity. Therefore, things needed to be pretty disturbing. Handed down as property for a hundred years in a family, warming the bed of whichever patriarch was in control of the family at that point, was supposed to be significant and disgusting, even killing his enemies if that was his command. They weren't honorable.

But the fact that some of these Companions escaped this and are NOW leading the way to the proud and honorable Protectors is a triumph of will. They will transform Velorian society, at least as seen from outside. They are extremely disruptive in many ways, but they now have the kind of honor that comes from overcoming difficulties (slavery, in this case) without hostility towards those who enslaved them. Given they are akin to goddesses, they could wreak terrible revenge. Instead, they turn their new powers into good, protecting planets, risking death from the Arions to help those who cannot help themselves.

Recall that few Protectors live to an old age (and their natural life span when empowered is many hundreds of years, possibly a thousand). Most don't make it to the end of their first century given the Arions eventually kill them in battle. If you could live, healthy and strong, for a thousand years, would you undertake a job that almost guarantees you'll die horribly before you've lived 10% of your natural lifespan? It takes a special kind of selfless dedication to accept those odds and not shy away from conflict or battle. To care enough to give up your life for others.

And this all coming from formerly disreputable Companions. Anyway, the core of this was on my mind when I created Companions. You've done an excellent job, Brantley, of showing how they became something far more than slaves. How they influenced entire worlds. Now the ultimate payoff -- they are further enhanced by a Galen to become Protectors, and are no longer bound to any rule except the ones they invent as part of the vaunted Hall of Protectors.

Shadar
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28 Dec 2017 22:48 - 28 Dec 2017 22:51 #57906 by brantley
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We have to remember that the era of Companions lasted for more than 300 years, and evolved over that time. And there are details that were never directly addressed.

One is how indentures were enforced. A Companion could go AWOL, after all. But the indenture holder would want his money or whatever back from the Scalantrans, who'd want it back from Velor. What would or could Velor do about it? The AWOL Companion couldn't be punished by her host world, but she could be outlawed, with anybody she tried to hook up with or even ally with being on a lit list. One such case was referenced in Empress-3, but that involved the Companion accidentally killing her holder. One scene in Companions touches on this, from Ju'lette's viewpoint:

<<Were she ever to interfere in the affairs of the household, or even express her displeasure, Alfonso would doubtless complain to the Scalantrans, and the Scalantrans would complain to the High Council. It would be bad for business, bad all around.>>

Shadar mentioned that some Companions would have been just brainless super whores. Could be, but are or were there many brainless Velorians -- even among the P class? Obviously their stories wouldn't be interesting, and it would be hard to write a sidequel about one of them now. But once the duties of Companions came to include fighting Aureans, Velor wouldn't be sending out any more morons, and there was the Exception for Companions to desert if their masters took up with the Aureans – as in the case of Ju'lette, before Vespyr. 

The slave markets may have come after Empress, as only Kalla was shown off to Feodor, That was early in the game, when only a few candidates were on each ship. Gabriel Molina acquires Liz'bet at such a market:

<<The Scalantrans had set up a special enclosure for the Companions, surrounded by a palisade. There they displayed a half-dozen Velorian women like prize animals, inviting potential buyers to inspect their naked bodies for non-existent flaws. The Companions were indeed as advertised, without a single wart or mole or wrinkle.>>

But the indignity of that was mitigated, for some at least, by the desire of the Velorians not only for sex but fir a different life. I myself forgotten this scene between Liz'bet and Gabriel Molina in Companions:

<< Liz'bet held back nothing of her life on Velor, and he began to see what had attracted her to the life of a Companion. Velorians, unlike Earthmen, had known from the beginning what they were missing from being bound to a single world. They had later learned what they were missing from being bound by the gold field: the chance to live free, beyond their wildest imaginings.
"They profit from us," she said. "We buy them their science and technology, for the Galen left them nothing save the Maternity Engine and its support systems. These they designed to be self-maintaining, but all else the Velorians had to build and maintain for themselves, with little more knowledge than your own people possess. From the trade in Companions, they have gained in knowledge, yet we have gained in freedom."
"As an indentured servant?"
"We are free to say yea or nay to our indentures. And I never had any doubt about you. I could tell from your manner that you were a good man -- better than what I might have found at home. And have I not been proven right?">>

As to what happens next, after First Protector, my version of AU history includes Lisa Binkley's Questlings, which takes place during a century-long lull in the Aurean War that ends with Emigrants. I think the Velorian Navy as well as the Protectors will have stalled the Empire during that period, before the genetic wars -- the tset'lars and all that. History can be very complicated.

--Brantley 
Last edit: 28 Dec 2017 22:51 by brantley.

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28 Dec 2017 23:49 #57907 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic At The Bright Empire....

brantley wrote: We have to remember that the era of Companions lasted for more than 300 years, and evolved over that time. And there are details that were never directly addressed.

One is how indentures were enforced. A Companion could go AWOL, after all. But the indenture holder would want his money or whatever back from the Scalantrans, who'd want it back from Velor. What would or could Velor do about it? The AWOL Companion couldn't be punished by her host world, but she could be outlawed, with anybody she tried to hook up with or even ally with being on a lit list. One such case was referenced in Empress-3, but that involved the Companion accidentally killing her holder. One scene in Companions touches on this, from Ju'lette's viewpoint:

<<Were she ever to interfere in the affairs of the household, or even express her displeasure, Alfonso would doubtless complain to the Scalantrans, and the Scalantrans would complain to the High Council. It would be bad for business, bad all around.>>

Shadar mentioned that some Companions would have been just brainless super whores. Could be, but are or were there many brainless Velorians -- even among the P class? Obviously their stories wouldn't be interesting, and it would be hard to write a sidequel about one of them now. But once the duties of Companions came to include fighting Aureans, Velor wouldn't be sending out any more morons, and there was the Exception for Companions to desert if their masters took up with the Aureans – as in the case of Ju'lette, before Vespyr. 

The slave markets may have come after Empress, as only Kalla was shown off to Feodor, That was early in the game, when only a few candidates were on each ship. Gabriel Molina acquires Liz'bet at such a market:

<<The Scalantrans had set up a special enclosure for the Companions, surrounded by a palisade. There they displayed a half-dozen Velorian women like prize animals, inviting potential buyers to inspect their naked bodies for non-existent flaws. The Companions were indeed as advertised, without a single wart or mole or wrinkle.>>

But the indignity of that was mitigated, for some at least, by the desire of the Velorians not only for sex but fir a different life. I myself forgotten this scene between Liz'bet and Gabriel Molina in Companions:

<< Liz'bet held back nothing of her life on Velor, and he began to see what had attracted her to the life of a Companion. Velorians, unlike Earthmen, had known from the beginning what they were missing from being bound to a single world. They had later learned what they were missing from being bound by the gold field: the chance to live free, beyond their wildest imaginings.
"They profit from us," she said. "We buy them their science and technology, for the Galen left them nothing save the Maternity Engine and its support systems. These they designed to be self-maintaining, but all else the Velorians had to build and maintain for themselves, with little more knowledge than your own people possess. From the trade in Companions, they have gained in knowledge, yet we have gained in freedom."
"As an indentured servant?"
"We are free to say yea or nay to our indentures. And I never had any doubt about you. I could tell from your manner that you were a good man -- better than what I might have found at home. And have I not been proven right?">>

As to what happens next, after First Protector, my version of AU history includes Lisa Binkley's Questlings, which takes place during a century-long lull in the Aurean War that ends with Emigrants. I think the Velorian Navy as well as the Protectors will have stalled the Empire during that period, before the genetic wars -- the tset'lars and all that. History can be very complicated.

--Brantley 


But maybe the idea of a Galen working with the Velorians to even out the balance of power was completely intimidating to the Empire, leaving them to believe more was afoot than just a roguish Galen. Maybe they thought the Galen were going to assert themselves in other areas, which in the end, they don’t (at least for a long time).

Later on we see that Arions believe they can own the galaxy and are no longer afraid of the Galen. But I’m not sure of how much time passes between these events.

We do know that during the Tset’lar period, still a long way in the future but per your planned history, which is the next major organized conflict between Arions and Velorians, the Galen do beat the Arions down, using the Geheimites as their club.

Perhaps the best logic is that the Arions backed off after their GAR technology was thwarted, due to the power of Protectors and their fears of greater Galen influence, and to deal with Aphrodite and her Protectors, they began working to mix Primal and Geheimite genes to produce the Tset’lar, which were lethal to Protectors. That way, they are fighting fire with a bigger fire.

What would need to be explained is why Skietra (and the Galens in general) were OK with Aphrodite’s work on Velor, but not the Arions homebrew mixing of Geheimites (who are at least 50% Galen genetics and upward) and Primal genes. Maybe it's as simple as one being a Galen initiative (even if by a single member of their race) versus the Arions weaponizing genetics they don’t own (Geheimites) for purposes of conquest.

Also, given that Geheimites are still functioning as their procreators, they probably don’t want them messed with.
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30 Dec 2017 13:42 #57930 by brantley
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There aren't any Wikileaks about whatever hidden agenda the Galen may have, so the Aureans may well fear the worst. And the Galen themselves may have their factions; Aphro'dite may not speak for all of them. Maybe others are content to work with the Geheimites and ignore the Velorians -- and, for that matter, the Terran diaspora.

--Brantley

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30 Dec 2017 15:22 - 30 Dec 2017 15:26 #57931 by brantley
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Alisa Liddell, aka Alisa-zar Kim'Vallara, has been mentioned in this thread. She was created by Shadar for Ordinary Velorians back in 2003, and first starred in our collaboration "Alisa's Story." She later appeared in the Shore Leave trilogy and Encounter at Westfold. But relatively few readers are familiar with "Passion Play," an overview of her life and career:

brightempire.com/Passion.htm

Here she is revealed as a mover and shaker, but in a relatively quiet way. She has a sense of history that she had gained over the course of her close encounters with historic events on Kelsor 7, Reigel Five, Rostran and elsewhere.

--Brantley
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30 Dec 2017 19:48 #57933 by AuGoose
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Out of curiousity and as a part-time galactic ruler myself, what's the feasibility matrix for Arion just gassing the entirety of Velor and whipping out the majority of the seed stock of these new and irritating space-cops at the source? Sure throw in some catspaws and basic deniability cut-outs, but I mean its only one basket/planet. How bad ass of a galactic empire am I running if I can't cataclysm-on-demand one planet? When they were just super-harlots, nobody cared, but now the wheels of galactic machination seem to be turning...
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30 Dec 2017 20:30 #57934 by shadar
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AuGoose wrote: Out of curiousity and as a part-time galactic ruler myself, what's the feasibility matrix for Arion just gassing the entirety of Velor and whipping out the majority of the seed stock of these new and irritating space-cops at the source? Sure throw in some catspaws and basic deniability cut-outs, but I mean its only one basket/planet. How bad ass of a galactic empire am I running if I can't cataclysm-on-demand one planet? When they were just super-harlots, nobody cared, but now the wheels of galactic machination seem to be turning...


Something like that was my thinking as well. The Companions didn't threaten Aria, especially after the Arions came up with their GAR laser-delivered particle-beam weapons. Basically, a hollow, circular laser beam tube that prevents the highly-charged particles from reacting with air or anything else in the way until they reach whatever the laser was striking. GARs can blow holes in the sides of armored warships, and can kill Companions if the fire is concentrated long enough.

But now with the Protectors, who can shrug off a GAR, and whose job is to protect planets (from the Arions) and not just warm some rich old fart's bed, it's a new game. I figure the Arions would try (and based on future events, fail) to put an end to it as soon as they learned what was going on.

But Brantley's history has a century of peace (or at least, non-engagement) following First Protector before the Arions reply with their own super-extra-high-powered warriors, the Tset'lar. I understand Brantley's arguments for that, but as I see it, either approach can be made plausible. It's up the author.

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30 Dec 2017 20:34 #57935 by brantley
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It hasn't been dealt with directly in either Shadar's version of AU history or my own, but the Galen also have to contend with the Elders, who developed mental as opposed to physical powers and (according to what may be history or just myth) managed to kill off all the Galen females. Supposedly the Galen created the Velorians as replacement mothers but were dissatisfied with the results and tried again with the Geheimites.
Just how this all happened I've never been able to figure out. There weren't any witnesses but the Galen and the Elders, and Velorians and others have only the word of the Galen or their proxies for it. Could all be B.S. But there are the Daimoni, creations of the Elders, just as there are creations of the Galen, so the galactic war between their creators seems to be/have been for real. But just as Terrans have rival ideologies and political factions, so may the Galen. We don't know who or which Skietra speaks for, nor even whether Aphro'dite truly speaks for Skietra or is really acting on her own and only tolerated by the Galen.

--Brantley

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30 Dec 2017 20:45 #57936 by shadar
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brantley wrote: It hasn't been dealt with directly in either Shadar's version of AU history or my own, but the Galen also have to contend with the Elders, who developed mental as opposed to physical powers and (according to what may be history or just myth) managed to kill off all the Galen females. Supposedly the Galen created the Velorians as replacement mothers but were dissatisfied with the results and tried again with the Geheimites.
Just how this all happened I've never been able to figure out. There weren't any witnesses but the Galen and the Elders, and Velorians and others have only the word of the Galen or their proxies for it. Could all be B.S. But there are the Daimoni, creations of the Elders, just as there are creations of the Galen, so the galactic war between their creators seems to be/have been for real. But just as Terrans have rival ideologies and political factions, so may the Galen. We don't know who or which Skietra speaks for, nor even whether Aphro'dite truly speaks for Skietra or is really acting on her own and only tolerated by the Galen.

--Brantley


But I suspect we will find some of these answers, especially the ones related to Aphro'dite, in your future writing. She's a principal figure in Velorian history, but we know little of her or her motivations or how the other Galen regard her. If there are factions, who does she support?

Shadar

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30 Dec 2017 20:57 - 30 Dec 2017 21:02 #57937 by brantley
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Still have to figure out what those factions are! Any suggestions?
But in Throne of the Gods, it is established that Aphro'dite lends her support to Theel'dara, who wants Velor to become more humane (as opposed to human). In Homecoming III, she seems to have foreseen this. I like to make all sorts of cross-connections, as in science fiction future histories, and try to rationalize things as best I can.

By the way, not much in the canon dealing directly with the Daimoni, but Ultrasybarite posted three key stories before gafiating:

www.brightempire.com/Harvest.html

www.brightempire.com/Harvest2.html

www.brightempire.com/FindingSanctuary.html

--Brantley
Last edit: 30 Dec 2017 21:02 by brantley.

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31 Dec 2017 15:30 #57941 by brantley
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A science fictional parallel to the practical and ethical challenges facing the Velorians -- and perhaps even the Galen:

In Henry Kuttner’s “Clash by Night” (1943), Earth itself has been destroyed in nuclear armageddon. Mankind still survives on Venus, in undersea Keeps, for the continents are savage jungles. War survives, too. In highly ritualized conflicts fought on behalf of rival Keeps by the Free Companies: bands of mercenaries bound by a strict code of honor.
The Keeps themselves are never attacked, and should any warrior band break the taboo on atomic weapons, the others will turn on it and destroy it without mercy. Scott commands the Doones, one unit in a typical war for economic advantage between the Montana and Virginia Keeps. But his loyalty to them comes to seem a foolish one; the romantic ideals of the Free Companies are delusions: “Blind, stupid folly!” He longs for the hedonistic comforts of the Keeps. In the end, however, he cannot abandon his company, for it helps serve an objectively necessary end: preserving the Keeps from the danger of war, until the Keeps themselves tire of war and make the mercenaries objectively unnecessary:
"The Doones meant nothing. Their ideal was a false one. Yet, because men were faithful to that ideal, civilization would rise again from the guarded Keeps. A civilization that would forget its doomed guardians, the waters of the seas of Venus, the Free Companions yelling their mad, futile battle cry as they drove on – as this ship was driving – into a night that would have no dawn."

--Brantley

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04 Jan 2018 10:56 #58011 by brantley
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www.brightempire.com/SuperXmas.htm

It's the eleventh day of Christmas, just barely in time to post "A Visit from Supergirl," Moxie's genre spoof of "A Visit from St. Nicholas." We can use something light these days, and we haven't heard from Moxie in ages!

--Brantley

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08 Jan 2018 11:33 - 08 Jan 2018 11:37 #58073 by brantley
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www.brightempire.com/Incident.pdf

Just a few tweaks to Incident at Madstop (2010) to make it consistent with First Protector II.

--Brantley
Last edit: 08 Jan 2018 11:37 by brantley.

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27 Jan 2018 22:20 - 27 Jan 2018 22:21 #58300 by brantley
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I'm back at work on the update of First Protector II, focusing on Vespyr and Alexios. Have re-edited Chapter 11, as well as working on the new Chapter 13. They will set out for Tazzi in Chapter 14. Hope to have this ready by Feb. 1.

--Brantley
Last edit: 27 Jan 2018 22:21 by brantley.

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01 Feb 2018 08:32 - 01 Feb 2018 08:34 #58399 by brantley
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www.brightempire.com/First-2.pdf

A major update to First Protector Two that brings the story to the climactic conclusion of Part Two. Vespyr Tal'esta is truly a Protector now, having found a sense of commitment as well as mastering her new power – and having also found, in Alexios, a man to share her life and her mission. Aphro'dite may have ushered in a new era for Velor, but the details of its relationship with the Scalantrans and the scattered worlds that will become the Enlightenment are still to be worked out. No matter: Vespyr is ready to carry the battle against the Aureans to Tazzi, the world where she had been a Companion.

-- Brantley Thompson Elkins
Last edit: 01 Feb 2018 08:34 by brantley.
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02 Feb 2018 03:30 #58421 by brantley
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Hope somebody will comment, even if it's a knock.

--Brantley

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02 Feb 2018 04:20 #58422 by shadar
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I'm reading. Long story. Comments after.

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03 Feb 2018 20:21 - 03 Feb 2018 20:24 #58441 by brantley
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OUCH!

Belatedly noticed this morning that I'd screwed up the editing of Chapter 14, transposing parts of a conversational scene with Opara into a climactic sex scene between Vespyr and Alexios.

Just uploaded a corrected pdf. My apologies!

--Brantley
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Last edit: 03 Feb 2018 20:24 by brantley.

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10 Feb 2018 15:51 #58530 by brantley
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Still no comments. Guess I can't compete with the super Asians, or even the West twins. Sigh...

--Brantley

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