Untangling the Knot
Tech: -3 (Metallurgy)
Environment: -1 (Survivable world)
Resources: -2 (Needs imports)
- “Fatalism as philosophy”
- “Nothing is wasted”
- “Quid pro quo”
Once described by a Tannhauser admiral as “a giant diamond in a sea of shit,” the Mir system sleeps against the tendrils of a dense, dark nebula. Stellar kinematics identifies its single star as a bright giant, occupied by nothing more than a series of cratered pseudo-planets. The lone exception is the homeworld of Mir and its former slipstream-engineering race, now devoid of resources and technological progress.
Tannhauser’s discovery of the Mir system brought increasing interest in its residents’ advancement, matched by the paranoia of the native Mir. No official record can pinpoint who fired the opening shot, but official (read: unclassified) Tannhauser records cite the Mir halting all conflict with a last-ditch salvo of nuclear bombardment on their own planet. This reported “defense” left over ninety percent of Mir’s native population destroyed, including its most devoted scientists and engineers. DSVs (deep space vessels) navigating through Mir’s terminal belt may report sightings of “elephant graveyards,” suspended with the derelict skeletal chassis of Mir frigates and Tannhauser dreadnoughts.
In spite of the war’s result, no one claims sovereign ownership of the Mir system – not even the Mir themselves. As far as modern Mir believe, no one else has existed in the system before them. The Mir themselves speak of their planet’s destruction in myths, spotted with tales of ancient avatars and demigods who abandoned their kind to the quiet fate of space.
“Fate” in their language is always a word stressed, and every member of Mir society speaks of their own lives and their clan in the grand narrative of their species. For Mir, the fate of one is tied to the fate of all Mir.
Ironically, the name Mir is not native to its system. “Mir,” to the Tannhauser, is their word for fate.
Because of their group empathy and limited resources, every Mir carefully uses what is in front of them, and signifies sharing as a complex, almost holy rite. Not properly engaging in quid pro quo can be seen in a range of slights: from a slap in the face to an act tantamount to torture.
Unfortunately for the Mir, most tech remaining after the war was quickly recycled to aid in its survival, and existing life-support systems are maintained by seemingly arcane rituals and guesswork. The Mir quickly colonize any pockets of “clean” land and caverns for shelter against seasonal dust-storms and nuclear snow. What has begun now for the Mir system is a small window of contemplation, to feel out the contours of their fate.