The supreme leader of the Hegemony is of course, the Hegemon.
Currently, the Hegemon of the Linked Worlds is Vissarion Gabriel
Nomarche, who has ruled for the last 3 years since the death of his
father, Gabriel Marchand Nomarche. The Nomarche line has ruled the
Hegemony unbroken for the last 427 years since the Mad Hegemon,
Therrin Horus Telemon executed every other member of his house before
dying himself in single combat with his Strategos.
The word of the Hegemon is final in all matters, though the sheer size
of the Hegemony makes direct rule somewhat impractical.
The Hegemon's Council, also called the Vocare Maxim, is made up of one
representative or Consul appointed by the government of each of the
Linked Worlds, subject to the approval of the Hegemon, and three ex
officio members, the Strategos of the Hegemony, the Hegemon's Heir
Apparent, and the Lord Sentinel of the Elite, though this last member has
no vote on the council. Hegemon Gabriel recently added a final member
selected by the assembled governments of the Deep Expansion Worlds,
until such time as each one reaches the minimum requirements to be
considered one the Linked Worlds of the Hegemony.
The Vocare Maxim assists and advises the Hegemon on all matters and is
the focus of the Hegemony's vast bureaucracy. The Praetors of each of
the nine divisions of the day to day government of the Hegemony are
appointed by the vote of the Vocare Maxim, again subject to the
approval of the Hegemon.
Provided they obey the basic laws of the Hegemony, and uphold the
rights guaranteed to each citizen thereof, each member world was free
to govern itself as it saw fit. The requirement that each world be
able to appoint a single Consul has generally evolved each planet
towards a single government, but exceptions to this rule do still
The Strategos of the Hegemony for the last 12 years has been the
younger brother of the current Hegemon, Ambros Gabriel Nomarche. With
the exception of the Elite (see below) the Strategos is the supreme
commander of all Hegemonic forces, answering only to the Hegemon.
There are basically four branches of military forces in the Hegemony.
For the most part, the military of the Hegemony is tasked with
upholding the laws and maintaining peace between the Linked Worlds as
there has been no outside threat to combat since the fabled days of
the Tarn Alliance, from which the Hegemony was formed.
The SkyGuard is comprised of all space forces of the Hegemony
including the Orbital Battle Stations. Officers of the SkyGuard must
graduate from one of the twelve SkyGuard academies, though no one is
permitted to attend an academy on the world of his birth. Once
commissioned, members of the SkyGuard are stationed throughout the
Linked Worlds with frequent transfers to insure that no particular
planet gains undue influence over its members.
The Legions are essentially the levies of the Linked Worlds. Each of
the Linked worlds is required to provide (through whatever means) one
half of one percent of its population to serve in the Legions. Each
Legion is stationed on the world of its origin though the commanders
and higher officers of the Legions are rotated through the worlds on a
decadal basis. The Legions provide the main ground troops of the
Hegemony, and are instrumental in putting down uprisings, supporting
locals against natural disasters, and upholding local laws.
The Hegemonic Guard are chosen from applicants from the Legions and
constitute the roving army of the Hegemony. While a Legionnaire can
expect to never leave the planet of his birth unless he rises to
sufficient rank, the Guard are always where the action is. Each of
the three Guard divisions has its headquarters on Ridena, though they
generally act separately.
By far the smallest of the branches, the seventy-seven members of the
Elite are the personal company of the Hegemon. They rotate between
their two main duties of being the Hegemon's personal guard, and his
eyes and ears out among the Linked Worlds. Though they are small in
number, each member of the Elite is acquainted with the Hegemon
personally, and it is said that no door in the Hegemony is barred to
them. Given their numbers, actually encountering an Elite outside of
the capital on Ridena is either a great honor, or a grave misfortune.
Date and Time
Timekeeping among multiple systems is difficult to keep synchronized,
given the disparity in local planetary rotation. The current method
of timekeeping dates back to the Alliance, and nearly everywhere uses
it from historical inertia.
``Year'' and ``day'' are local terms, dependent on planetary rotation
and revolution. Places with inconveniently sized days may also have
something like a local ``cycle'' to keep track of workday-sized chunks
of time. ``Hour'' and ``minute'' are standard terms (there are sixty
minutes in an hour). Also standard terms are ``tick'' (twenty-four
hours) and ``zed'' (365.25 ticks).
Local time would generally be something like ``Winter 15, 14:30'' ---
most places have month-like chunks, and local time which counts from 0
(midnight) to whatever number of hours the day ends at, truncating the
last hour before midnight to be an arbitrarily short number of
Standard time is of the form 1873.178.13.09 AS (zed, tick, hour,
The date, as of when you were last paying attention, was
Almost all monetary transactions in the Hegemony are computerized,
though hard currency does exist. The standardized currency is the
Hegemonic Aster, which can be fractionated at will since the accounts
are kept electronically in any case. (``Your bill will be 4.3453
Asters.'') Think of an Aster as the equivalent of 100 dollars.
Hard currency comes in two types, rare metallic coins often used as
collectors items and commemorative medallions so much as currency and
plastic sealed chits with unique computer verification chips inside.
The plastic Asters are preferred by most when currency transactions
are made, though the coins are quite popular in the outworlds.
The lingua franca of the Hegemony is Integral, an elegant language
which allows for enough shading of meaning to write poetry, and enough
precision that legal documents can be written in only a few pages and
understood by normal humans. The Tinoori and the Brochoah both have
their own languages, but most speak Integral as well. Cerulean and
many of the outworld planets have their own dialects, comprehensible
to outsiders when spoken slowly, but otherwise difficult to
follow. [Language skills are one point. A true language, such
as Tinooranthi, requires eight levels for full fluency; a dialect only
requires three levels.]
Religious beliefs are generally a minority view, but there are
several religions which have followings across most to all of the
- Starwayist: A belief that humans are, at their heart, made
of the same stuff as the stars, and are part of the same universe.
Stars and man and everything in between are all part of a great grand
- Nuller: A belief that gravity is a corrupting influence,
and only in space do we become free. On paper more of a philosophy
than a religion, in that there is no belief in divinity, Nullers in
person are often quite devout and committed.
- Bibbler: Believers in a single deity and divine judgement
in the afterlife, Bibbler beliefs are codified in their holy Book.
- Reform Juridicist: Juridicists believe that the Hegemon
rules by divine right and has final judgement in all things. The
Orthodox Juridicists have been generally defunct since the reign of a
long-ago liberal Hegemon who considered active worship Not A Good
- Ridena First settled of the Linked Worlds and Center of the
Hegemony, Ridena has been the seat of the Hegemons since the very
From each of the Praetors' towers there is a clear view past the Grand
Parade Fields of the Strategos to the Palatium Tamarch, Estate of the
Hegemon, where the Elite and their plasma brands maintain their
eternal vigil over the Soul of the Hegemony.
Nestled on a cliff face with its back against the sea, the Palatium
Tamarch looks out on Ridena the city, largest of the Hegemony. The
city itself, outside the semi-ring formed by the nine Praetors'
towers, extends for one hundred miles away from the water. The only
city on the planet (assuming you don't count the training bases and
various headquarters of the Guard division as cities), Ridena has
spared no expense in displaying the full power of the Hegemony, in
construction, arts, and technology. Divided into several
``quarters,'' (There are actually about 20 of these quarters) Ridena
is host to every type of person living throughout the Hegemony.
The continent on the other side of Ridena is called the Hegemon's
Preserve. While construction is not illegal in the preserve, all
construction is rigidly overseen to insure that it seemlessly
integrates into the existing landscape. Overflying the preserve, it
is almost impossible to tell the planet is inhabited.
Eremov Prime and Eremov Secundus are nothing exiting,
though both are happy Hegemonic worlds. However, Eremov V has a
lovely little moon, Quintessence, which boasts the premium
resorts in the Linked Worlds. One of the more popular resort
activities is the transparent force-field-enclosed ships which dip
into the heavy clouds of the gas giant below, but there are also the
standard complement of restaurants, spas, casinos, theaters, and so
- Godia Godia sits a little far back from its primary star to be
truly comfortable for most, but for those looking for a winter
wonderland, Godia is perfect. Deliberately keeping itself a bit
down-tech, Godia's settlements are closer to ski resort in size than
true cities, and the fusion reactors are carefully buried and out of
the way under pristine snow. Less publicized than the Frostfall Opera
House and the ice scudder races, Godia is no less important for the
Strategos' Tactical Training Academy, located both on-planet and
on-station above Godia.
The ``old corp'' planet, Tiras is the home to a number of the
wealthiest individuals in the Linked Worlds, as well as some of the
oldest and most established megacorporates.
- Mainwell A sort of bread and butter world of the Hegemony,
Mainwell is often known for its fine manufactured goods, specializing
in reliable consumer products. For most items, Mainwell is synonymous
with quality, from microcomputer pods waterproof to three kilometers
for deep Cerulian work to the Mainwell 2000 AutoChef found in just
about every private ship of the Hegemony. A highly regimented
society, all Mainwell citizens belong to a specific caste which
determines their social standing, insurance benefits, and concert
seating. Moving upcaste in one generation is the goal of every father
for his children.
A water world, dotted with floating islands built out of
high-structure, high-buoyancy vegetable mats. The islands range up in
size to small-city; the only completely inorganic floating island is
the starport (though Cerulean's space stations are larger than
average for most planets).
- Vircus A mining world rich in natural resources, but with a
slightly toxic atmosphere, making it difficult to maintain human
civilization outside of the three domed mining towns. A rich source
of raw materials, Vircus supplies the heavy metal needs of half the
Hegemony. Above the mining world are two major space orbital
installations. One is a massive freight processing station, for
dealing with the mining operation, and coordinating shipping to all
parts of the Hegemony. The other installation is a Type Ten Hegemonic
Guard Battle Station, with a full complement of Hegemonic Marines,
and a full squadron of the SkyGuard, for defense of this valuable
- Nerele Home to one of the few non-human non-uplifted
intelligent species in the Hegemony, the Brochoah. An unfortunate
resemblance to a certain human cultivated vegetable has resulted in
these beings' more common name, ``the broccoli''. Brochoah are ideally
suited for life under the harsh white sun of Nerele. Generally
resembling stubby blue trees, Brochoah can manufacture their own food
from ambient minerals and sunlight, and in scarce times are capable of
long periods of voluntary inactivity (called ``rooting'') to conserve
resources. Immunity to the rigors of vacuum and the fact
that it is practically impossible to bore a Brochoah with even the
most repetitive of tasks, provided that task is useful, makes them a
favored workforce in space construction. Brochoah generally exhibit a
group mentality and are fanatic resource gatherers. So while they
often seem slow of wit, unionized Brochoah are the scourge of any
labor negotiation. (Lament of a (former) Praetor of Resource
Allocation and Labor: ``Don't get into a fight with a broccoli.
You'll think you've won until the morning you wake up and your company
has gone out of business and the bank is foreclosing on your speeder
and your children have filed formal papers of divorce and your credit
account numbers have all been repossessed. They don't play fast, but
they play long, and for keeps.'')
Gateway's claim to fame is its jump gate to the Deep Expansion
Worlds. Originally a hectic and thriving metropolic world, with
trading fleets travelling in both directions constantly, Gateway has
built up a stronger military presence in the past few years, due to
conflict between the outworlds and the forces of the Strategos. A
newly installed Type Ten Hegemonic Guard Battle Station has come on
line in the same orbit as the jump gates, ostensibly as part of the
Strategos' High Alliance defense program, but few see it as anything
but a thinly veiled threat to the outworlds.
- Heidelmere Heidelmere is unique as the only planetary
government in the Hegemony based upon the monarchical succession of a
single family (other than the Hegemony itself). King Ronaldo
VII, rules over a complicated system of Dukes, Counts, Barons, and
Knights who make up the nobility of Heidelmere. Unlike a traditional
feudal system, while the nobility does indeed have the government, the
``peasant class'' includes some of the richest entrepreneurs and
captains of industry in the Linked Worlds. The nobility of Heidelmere
collects taxes and as the government provides the basic services
needed for such a society, but all of the downside of feudal systems
appear to have been eliminated. Typically the king of Heidelmere will
send his heir to act as Heidelmere's Consul to the Vocare Maxim.
- Tiras Nova Tiras Nova deliberately set itself up as a rival to
Tiras in the economic battlefield, taking advantage of several moons
very rich in resources and instituting favorable monetary policies and
regulations for development and research. Genegeneers and nanofarmers
in particular have flocked to Tiras Nova due to the lack of
- Ganfrey While Ganfrey is home to great cities, massive
space stations, breathtaking scenery, and complex industrial
complexes, one would never know to hear one talk of it. For Ganfrey
is also home to the Polymath Institute --- the most pre-eminent place
of learning in the Linked Worlds. An entire large island (about the
size of Great Britain) has been given over to the six hundred and
twenty-seven colleges, schools and universities that comprise the
Institute, and students and faculty are recruited from all over the
Linked Worlds and outworlds. By tradition, the Consul from Ganfrey is
a senior faculty member at the Sabbati Doneval, the school of galactic
- Cabry The homeworld of the arachnoid Tinoori, Cabry is a
densely forested world, built up less than many of the other Linked
Worlds out of deference to its original inhabitants. While the
Tinoori appear to see no point in space travel (or even planetary
travel), they are friendly trading partners and accomplished artists,
especially in the realm of olfactory art. A Tinoor is said to never
forget anything that it chooses to remember.
The Deep Expansion Worlds, as they are formally known, are a set of
habitable worlds found close together in the Omphalos Dust Nebula.
Their close proximity makes it possible to travel between them at
sublight speeds in a way that's far more difficult for the rest of the
Linked Worlds, though none but the most daring pilots would risk
travel through the nebula off of the known routes. However, the
rewards for discovering a new habitable world are great, so explorers
are drawn to the nebula like moths to a flame.
Settlement of the Outworlds has been taking place for much of the
lifetime of the Hegemony, with new jumpgates being constructed in
place around Crux. However, as the Outworlds have grown more
populous with those who are happier on the frontier, they have grown
increasingly dissatisfied with their lack of governmental
representation. While they have recently been granted a joint seat
in the Vocare Maxim, most Outworlders consider this too little, too
late, and mutter about severing the Nonesuch/Gateway jump gate.
The Expansion Worlds' most notorious celebrities are Janina Megaera
and the crew of her ship, the Inopportune Moment. One part pirate,
one part bard, and three parts rabble-rouser, most Outworlders treat
Captain Megaera as something of a force of nature to be endured until
one can cash in the encounter for a lifetime of free drinks on the
story. Those not born in the outworlds never seem to get the joke.
- Nonesuch Nonesuch (Accidentally named by Praetor Silas
Cole, ``Habitable planet in the dust nebula? There's nonesuch.'') is,
for the Expansion Worlds, what Gateway is to the systems outside the
dust nebula. Of all the Expansion Worlds, Nonesuch is the most
aligned in spirit to the Hegemony, and has managed the most graceful
integration of Hegemonic technology with the stronger psionic talents
common in the nebula.
The richest in raw mineral resources of the Outworlds,
and home to some of the most impressive physical scenery, Sparta is
otherwise not the most hospitable of planets. Though its year is
shorter than most, a native Spartan would assure you that it seems much longer. Much of Spartan life requires technological
assistance, from desalination to crop deleading. Sparta's territory
is divided into twenty-one Wards, each overseen by a Warden in charge
of colonization of that area.
- Bastion The Bastion system contains a single gas giant with six
moons of more-or-less habitable conditions. The least habitable of
them, officially known as Third Bastion but informally known as the
Bastille, houses the Expansion Worlds Skyguard Outpost. Second and
Fourth, and Fifth Bastions are close to standard climate, and the
colonists are much as one would expect. First Bastion, a close inner
moon, has a small number of gas miners, and Sixth Bastion has turned
their rocky moon into a heavily tunneled lithofungus production
While Nonesuch was the first of the Deep Expansion worlds settled, it is Crux
which was the first to truly be an ``Outworld'' with its reliance on
improvisation, brute force, and particularly powerful psi instead of
technology. Nearly every conceivable religion or philosophical
position has found adherents on Crux as a focus of psionic
- Pierogi The ``jewel of the Outworlds'', Pierogi is a glorious
world of beauty, wonder, and endless possibility. Additionally,
Pierogi-born psychics appear to be stronger than those nearly anywhere
Lendt is still fairly sparsely settled, but already the inhabitants of
this world have begun to be difficult, refusing to have any
central authority larger than city-wide. That Lendt is the
birthplace of Janina Megaera is likely no coincidence.
- Creek Creek is the most recently discovered of the Expansion
Worlds, found by famed explorer Rupert Milhouse. The jump gate to
Creek has not yet been constructed, but brave settlers have already
begun to move in. A wet planet that ranges from warmish rain forest
to chilly swamp, barely an inch of Creek exists that is not a home to
one ore more of its innumerable amphibioid species. Much cdof Creek's
flora and fauna appears to be rich in useful biochemicals, though a
thorough survey has not yet been done.
(pdf version here