The Sarken Hegemony (Sarkai: Zi Sarkengallkleid) is a member state in the Galactic Nations. It is led by the Sarken species, though it has subjugated several nation-states in its history as "subject" nations. Its current subject races include the Raijalresh, Kakkon, Airoth, and Quall worlds, though it has subjugated the Dzäwenid, volun, and Jiptohr in the past.
The Destruction of ErsarkEdit
Originally, the planet Ersark was a flourishing garden world, brimming with life. However, the native Sarken, unwilling to restrain their twisted experiments in the name of progress, managed to flood their atmosphere with dangerous amounts of toxic chemicals. Unfazed by what they had done, the Sarken, instead of dying out, genetically altered their bodies to accomodate their new home. When they left Ersark, they found that they now had to wear breather masks and pressure suits to survive in conventional nitrogen-oxygen atmospheres.
The Sarken ConfederacyEdit
By 2306, they made first contact with the Republic of Raijal, populated by the tech-savvy Raijalresh. Over the next hundred years, the Sarken maintained good relations with the Republic of Raijal, as well as its neighbor states the Mugsoon Kingdom and the United Dzawenid Clans. However, Raijal soon came into contact with the Kakkon Hive, an aggressive nation populated by the insectoid Kakkon species. Believing themselves to be superior to the other races, they attacked on sight. The Raijalresh fled, and warned the Sarken about the Hive, asking for assistance against the threat. When Raijal proposed an alliance, the Sarken accepted. Shortly afterwards, the two nations came together to form the Sarken Confederacy in 2430, and the two began to prepare. This wasn't enough, however— the Kakkons' sheer numbers overwhelmed the two fledgling nations.
The Kakkon WarEdit
Beaten back by the Kakkons, the Sarken retreated the sector and began to scout outside of the known galaxy for potential planets to refuel on. It was then that they discovered a race of iron-clad warriors living on the moon of a gas giant just south of the Known Galaxy. Going to the moon to investigate the warriors, members of a hardy race known as the Volun, the Sarken were intrigued by their fighting prowess and eagerness for battle and offered them a deal— in exchange for acting as the Sarken's soldiers and workers, the Sarken would give the Volun passage offworld, allow them to use Sarken weaponry, and give them the opportunity to wage war throughout the whole galaxy. The Volun accepted, and in 2470 the Sarken and the Volun struck back against the Kakkons, in a conflict known as the Kakkon War. In order to defeat the Kakkons, the Sarken and Volun managed to fight their way to the Kakkon homeworld, Zazkaklazn, and abduct the Kakkon queen. The Kakkons traded their freedom for the safe return of their queen. As punishment, the Kakkons were integrated into the Sarken Confederacy as a servant caste.
The Sarken HegemonyEdit
However, after the war, the Sarken economy nearly collapsed. In order to sustain themselves, the Sarken began conquering and exploiting the worlds they came across, renaming themselves to the Sarken Hegemony in the process. These included the Dzawenid and Jiptohr that they had previously been friendly towards. After a period of prosperity, the Sarken once again found their economy slowly falling apart, and in a bit of desperation, they attacked and invaded the peaceful, pre-FTL Airoth species. The Volun soon felt disillusioned with the Sarken and staged a rebellion in 2640. This revolution, known as the Volun Uprising, was fought against using the Sarken subject races, but as the war raged on, the Sarken decided that the war against Volun was wasteful, and soon began negotiating with the Volun patriarchs. The result of the peace talks was the formation of a Volun sovereign state, the Legacy of Delor, as well as a treaty of alliance with the newly founded nation.
After the Volun left, the economy started picking up again until the Dark Age caused another depression. During the Dark Age, the Jiptohr and the Dzawenid also staged uprisings, and were also released from the Hegemony. To prevent another uprising from occurring, the Sarken cracked down heavily on insubordination, as well as installed many checks to the power of the subject races. By 2922, the Sarken Hegemony managed to make contact with a Kaladian scout ship heading galactic-south, and diplomacy talks were established, during which the Sarken were introduced to the galaxy at large. During this period of time, the Sarken typically backed Kaladia in matters of galactic importance, and they developed a close relationship with the United Stars of the Snailian People. In 2958, the Hegemony had brought another race under its dominion, the Qualls, who were put to work as a caste of workers. This caused a minor outrage from the galaxy at large.
The Hegemony TodayEdit
The biggest principal interaction that the Sarken Hegemony had with the galaxy at large prior to the Freedom War was the invasion of the Triple Alliance (along with the Legacy of Delor) in 3320. The Sarken Hegemony managed to take one of the Alliance's planets before the two nations declared a ceasefire 5 years later. When the Freedom War kicked up, the Hegemony offered its services to its closest ally, Kaladia. The Hegemony did not fight in the war directly, but supplied Kaladia with Hegemony weapons and troops, mainly Kakkon and Raijalresh mercenaries. Regardless, Kaladia was still defeated. Near the end of the war, another Uldermach took control, and pulled all support from Kaladia. After the war, the new Uldermach, Taerich, negotiated with the Galactic Nations and, a few years afterwards, with the support of the United Stars, the Sarken Hegemony joined the Galactic Nations.
The Sarken Hegemony was established after the Sarken Confederacy, the prior state, fell during the Kakkon War. The Hegemony is led by an Uldermach, a leader who holds a life term, voted up by the Board of Machen, a council of the most brilliant Sarken minds. However, Sarken are nothing if not ambitious, and the position of Uldermach is extremely dangerous, since it is often targeted by assassins and twisted experiments.
Below the Machen lies the Antermachen, who are roughly equivalent to senators. Each planet in the Sarken Hegemony sends a number of Antermachen proportionate to the planet's population, and act as liasons between the Sarken and their subjects. Aside from antermachen, subject citizens are not given representation in the federal government, but they are allowed to vote in planetary elections and are able to live and work in any of the worlds in the Hegemony.
To a Raijalresh, knowledge is the ultimate power. Typically, the leaders of the Raijalresh are scholars, engineers, or researchers. The current leader of the Raijalresh, the Provost, is voted into power by the populace, and the Provost answers directly to the Sarken board of Machen.
The Kakkon Hive is led by the Tenders, a group of priest-like individuals whose job is to tend to the Kakkon Queen on Zazkaklazn. Despite her name, the Kakkon Queen holds no actual power aside from making more Kakkons.
The Airoth leader, or argoi, is in charge of the department that looks after all the mayors of Astara, similar to a burgomaster or chairman. However, the title of argoi is typically passed down the generations. Currently, the role of argoi is held by a Sarken-backed antermach who oversees Astara.
In the days before the planet Telpker was subjugated by the Sarken, the Qualls lived a socialist lifestyle, where all work that was done was for the good of the entire community. The Sarken put this mindset to work, but in order to oversee their quall workers, the Sarken also installed a Chancellor of the Quall People, to enforce the rules of the Hegemony.
Being naturally gifted in genetic engineering and technology, yet lacking the moral shackles to keep their progress in line, the Sarken Hegemony is more willing to use obviously experimental or dangerous weaponry in the name of science. Sarken flagships run on nuclear fusion, but some even use experimental singularity drives to generate nearly limitless power at the expense of an occasional explosive core malfunction. In short, Sarken very rarely stick with the same equipment, constantly upgrading and changing out their weapons and battleships. Sarken themselves rarely fight, however, and prefer to let their subjects do most of the fighting if need be.
The Raijalresh in particular have a special firearm that fires smart bullets. They attached a scope to one of their stalk eyes, then fire. By pointing the eye in different directions (as the Raijalresh can orient their eyes whatever way they choose), they can guide the rocket in the air to dodge around fortifications and hit priority targets.
The Kakkon strategy in military is to attack and keep coming. The typical Kakkon tactic is to swarm the opponent without giving them a chance to retaliate, which, given the Kakkons' typical numbers advantage, is a more effective tactic than some realize.
The Sarken Hegemony is divided into the Sarken themselves, and the four subject nations within the Hegemony. Members of subject races are not treated like slaves, however. They are given working hours, paid for their efforts (in the Hegemony currency, "kallen"), and allowed to keep their culture and homes. In addition, the usage of large numbers of subject races dedicated to certain tasks means a caste system has risen up to determine professions. A subject race is allowed to practice a set number of different professions laid out by their Sarken masters, and are given moderately light rule for their work.
However, the true infrastructure of the Sarken Hegemony is the Sarken brain. Sarken constantly build and create things that keep the Hegemony afloat, but just as easily bring it to its knees. One of the most important Sarken inventions in recent years, aside from the black hole generator, is a device they call the Fabricator, which like a Swiss army knife can "fabricate" most important tools quickly, sort of like a 3D printer with metals. Since Sarken are nothing if not cunning, a Sarken will always carry a Fabricator on his person. The discipline of an individual Sarken varies, anywhere from machinery to genetic engineering to mad alchemy. If it works (and sometimes even if it doesn't), it can be put to use in the Sarken eyes.
What the Sarken Hegemony does not keep for itself, it often sells to other nations. The primary export of the Sarken Hegemony is computers and consumer electronics, including Sarken fabricators. These electronics are often made in bulk by skilled Raijalresh machinists; thus, Hegemony-made electronics tend to be very top-of-the-line.
The pollution and corruption of the planet Ersark has made research on pre-pollution Sarken difficult, and Sarken do not like to discuss their history, in favor of discussing science and progress. They dismiss the stories of their ancient gods as fairy tales for children, or wash them clean of supernatural elements and describe them as ancient scientists with powerful, sufficiently advanced technology. This proves an important section of the Sarken mindset: progress is more important than history. As far as the Sarken are concerned, why dwell in the past, when you can live the future? The Sarken encourage what other races would call "mad science", while the nation subsidises promising scientific discoveries, leading to a culture that favors intellect, cunning, and ambition.
One remnant of their pre-scientific culture lies with pseudo-historic individuals that the Sarken refer to as "philosopher-kings". These individuals, with their description of scientifically-advanced technology centuries ahead of their time, and their almost complete reverence by their followers, were almost certainly considered gods in those times, especially the chiefest of the philosopher-kings, Stranz. It seems that all paranormal influences were wiped clean by cultural personnel, as the Sarken do not wish to admit they believed in the divine at some point in time.
While both the mother and father do take care of their children, they are also both expected to work, and thus children are often nannied by either a robot, or a member of a servant race. For this reason, Sarken rarely become as close to their families as humans in their respective situations do. A Sarken child is considered an adult when he or she has proven they can sustain themselves (which can be as early as the mid-teens or as late as the late 20s). Life for the average Sarken is fairly cushy, due to the subject races propping up the Sarken's lifestyle. Most physical labor is unheard of for Sarken to perform, so the vast majority of Sarken workers are white-collar. The Sarken home life is similarly cushy. Robots and subject servants perform the vast majority of Sarken household tasks.
The average young Sarken will usually face intellectual pursuits for entertainment, such as playing strategic games, writing, or planning. However, many will often push the boundaries of their research to brag to their friends. For instance, a Sarken interested in cars may either build a car themselves or outfit a bought car with a wide variety of addons and mechanisms. Sarken citizens will readily join clubs that promote their particular interests. Members of these clubs will work on joint projects, discuss philosophy and scientific discoveries, and overall collaborate. However, due to the racial pride and ambition that the Sarken have, many of these clubs devolve into a couple of ambitious Sarken grasping for power however they can.
Since the Sarken have allowed free practice of the subject nations' cultures, subject culture has leaked upwards into the Sarken way of life, typically Raijalresh culture due to the similarities between the nations.
The Raijalresh are a people that embody curiosity. Ever since they adapted to the now-extinct Walkers, the Raijalresh feverishly explored their home, as well as explored various avenues for knowledge to understand the universe. The Raijalresh believe in a sort of universal gestalt of all the knowledge in the cosmos. Every so often it dips into the mortal realm, where talented minds can "tap" into it. When a Raijalresh dies, his or her collective knowledge is poured into the universal gestalt, and other Raijalresh can tap into that consciousness to gain their knowledge. To a raijalresh, a study session is just as much a session of meditation as it is a way of learning.
The Kakkon Hive venerates the Queen that birthed them, and the Tenders who keep watch on the Queen pass on the her "word" to the rest of the hive. The Queen is barely sentient, and so the Tenders must "interpret" for her. Somehow, the beliefs of the Queen usually tend to "coincidentally" line up with the general beliefs of the Tenders keeping watch on her. For this reason, the Sarken try to install Tenders that are loyal to the Hegemony.
The Airoth believe in a set of gods known as the Green Host. The seven gods and goddesses of the Green Host were the creators of the world in ancient Astaran mythology: Telluth the god of the sun, Alith the god of the sky, Vastel the goddess of the harvest, Selaroth the god of the earth, Lamidel the goddess of the sea, Rudimith the god of nature, and Wadel the goddess of night. The god Selaroth was said to have created the airoth from stone in his own image, and so Selaroth is the primary deity worshipped by the Airoth. Temples to the Green Host are common fixtures in every Airoth city and town. While the Sarken Hegemony officially does not agree with the worship of the Green Host, the laws of preservation of culture prevent them from snuffing out the religion, so they tolerate the construction of the Green Host temples. This has led to several communities of other subject races, mostly raijalresh and qualls, converting to the Green Host faith.
The Qualls revere a formless deity called the Deep Mother, who was said to live in the center of the world and from the endless caverns of Telpker, created the Qualls. Mostly, though, the Qualls are a very secular, socialist society. Most property on Telpker is communally owned, and everything is made for the good of both the Quall people and the Sarken Hegemony in general.
The Sarken Hegemony, aside from Ersark, has seven colony worlds nearby the capital, each of which is terraformed to be as polluted and shriveled as Ersark, due to their new need for polluted atmosphere. In addition, there are countless "testworlds", planets that they run twisted experiments on in order to find new potential bits of technology. Finally, the Sarken have control over nine subject worlds, each worlds originally belonging to an alien race integrated into the Hegemony: four kakkon worlds, two raijalresh worlds, one airoth world, one quall world, and one world plundered from the Triple Alliance inhabited primarily by aht, tidenal, and fasir.