RICE paper: Subject: Efate
RICE paper: Subject: #AWP-00301: Efate
When you leave jump, you're 100 diameter's from the primary star: Efate is only 68 local stellar diameters out, so your ship will come out between 194 and 394 light-second from Efate.
Coming through the RQS rigmarole is a good bit easier here then in most places: Virus is not nearly the threat that the Zho's can be, in the eyes of the local Efate. So long as the traveller doesn't do anything blatantly stupid, he should be able to arrive at the starport in a reasonably short time.
Looking down on the world as the RQS quickly rifles through his ship, he's likely to mistake the Vistoner plate as the world's sole continent. While it sure looks like one, it has actually been shattered into something like a jigsaw puzzle. Each island - about 300 to 700 km in diameter - is separated by it s neighbor by a 1-4 km moat, which goes down 3-5 kilometers in depth. How this highly unlikely geographic formation is still under some debate: since there's no impact crater, the answer must reside in some truly odd plate tectonics. The world itself seems geologically dead: there are no mountain chains, and no volcanoes. The bottom of the moats is covered by silt and dirt settling in from above: estimates are that the crevices go down another 2 km below the silt floor.
After barely setting foot on this world, each member of the company will be given a holographic Efate guide - an avatar - to help the visitor navigate his way through the customs and traditions that govern Efate society. The guide will refuse payment from the visitors: he is usually a construct by a local tourist agency, and will encourage the visitors to use his agency's facilities.
The harsh chemicals that render the air poisonous to humans stems from the TiiKii plant. While rarely seen in the cities where humans frequent, they dominate the shallow swamplands of Efate's equatorial regions, released during the sudden, massive "explosions" of the plant's sexual organs. The Efate - ever gracious to their human visitors - feel ashamed by this, but can do nothing: too many species depend on the TiiKii's foul gases for their life cycles.
Humans are not advised to enter the swamplands: if they do, they must be very careful where they trod: stepping on a root can trigger off the explosion.
The Efate Race
The guide is worth a twice-over (even if he's just a hologram). The typical lithe Efate stands at a little over average height, with a deep bronze skin, longish wavy hair in a variety of light colors (white, various shades of grey, and pale yellow), and high cheekbones. They look like a minor race - or a body sculptured noble - but are not actually human at all.
The Efate was contacted by the Imperium soon after arriving in Regina subsector. At the time, they were a highly sedentary race of omnivores; weighing in at about 300 kg, they looked something like large, occasionally biped, glorified squirrels, with faceted eyes, an ungainly gait, and a grating language of squeals and whines. Primitive they were not, though: when the I.S.S. Coilirela touched down here in 182, they had already reached TL 4, with some research to TL 6.
The Efate - or the KriiLeeiKariit, as they called themselves at the time - welcomed the Imperium gladly, becoming a client state in 211 and obtaining formal membership in 243. A highly industrious people, they swiftly reached TL A by 400, and by the First Civil War was at TL D. It was at this time when wealthy KriiLeeiKariit started to shape themselves and their children as humans. The prestige of being human, and the natural KriiLeeiKariit love and fondness of humaniti, began to approach its ultimate conclusion. By 880, the "New People" were over half the population: by 1000, the KriiLeeiKariit were extinct. But the "New People" - now taking the name of Efate as the name of their new race - were still not considered human, as they cannot interbreed, and have serious internal difference from humanity, especially at the DNA and molecular level.
They still cannot eat most human food without pills and additives: the very limited range of (highly processed) human food they _can_ digest without aides gives them debilitating stomach cramps and occasional vomiting "on bad days". Because of their wholesale and self-inflicted genetic problems, they suffer appallingly short lifespans of about 40 years, dying from a vast variety of hereditary diseases. And over 60% of all Efate are originally born from some artificial method: the rebuilding of the KriiLeiiKariit reproductive system to imitate human mammalian norms is a great triumph of science, but even today a Efate woman going through natural childbirth takes her life in her hands. Of course, Efate genetic science plows ahead to relieve these problems.
Efate cities are very crowded. The Efate are an extremely gregarious race, and they love the hustle and bustle of the urban environment. Their cities aren't very tall, but do spread out over thousands of kilometers of area. Clothing tends to imitate the latest Regina fashion, and many of the social attitudes are also familiar to native-born Reginans. Strangers are enjoyed my most Efate: they are easily forgiven of any minor errors, and even if guilty of a grievous crime, will only suffer - at worst - expulsion from Efate.
What most stands out on Efate is the vast number of holographic people - called "avatars" - which mix and talk with the real Efate. Some of these people have been sent by their masters to complete some errand, but most of the avatars are of dead Efate, who's personality is brought to live by AI programs.
The Servenai Cults - the premiere Marchman religion, after Imperial Catholicism - have many Efate followers, and insists that the souls of the dead are only satisfied if they're images are permitted to walk the land. The Cults - which originated on Capon/2324 (B747748-A) - resemble the Roman mystery cults, with ancient Vilani philosophy thrown in: currently, 20% of all Marchmen follow it.
While most Imperial/Regency worlds are known for taking Honor and Tradition seriously, Efate is unique in the extent that it reveres these concepts. One of the things that the Efate can't get their heads around is human laws: they simply cannot comprehend how they act. What they do understand, however, is Personal Honor. Each individual Efate is responsible to make his portion of the universe as fine and noble as possible. And each Efate's life is governed by his own personal Honor Code, which is held as sacred.
Each Efate is expected to uphold the Code individually, rather than depend on a government to maintain it. If an evil occurs, the Efate that witnesses it is to correct it: he cannot pass on that responsibility to someone else.
The Efate nobility's main purpose is to provide living examples of what honour mean, to set an example for the nation and the race. The local nobility has shifted over the centuries from a priesthood to a democracy to an oligarchy of noble families, but how they govern - the source of their authority - remains the same.
The Code - basically the obligation to be and live the truth as best as ability allows - is the foundation of trust on Efate. Because it's taken so seriously, the system can continue to be the only known high-pop world without any formal laws at all. Of course, every Efate's individual Code varies, but all strive towards the same goal, and tend to have many similarities.
One of the more common manifestations of the Code is Paterfamilias: that is, the eldest male is assumed to be the lord of his household. While he doesn't officially have the 'right' to kill anyone in his household that he wishes - the Efate only believes in duties and responsibilities, not rights - most Efate will not interfere or ostracize a father who does, even in public.
Other common traits of the Honor Code is a willingness to take the law in your own hands; a very strong fear of shame before others; love of family, home, and empire; and contempt for those who challenge the Code.
The Fifth Frontier War
The honor code - despite its valued place within Efate culture - has often been the source of some of the most intractable conflicts on Efate. One well-known conflict - between the Keeslia'k and the Keia'ss noble houses - has often led to continuous brushfire war's in the bitter Polar wastes of Efate. This conflict eventually grew like topsy: by 1107, it pitted most of the lesser noble houses against the five High Houses.
Covert Zhodani support of the smaller houses was quite well-known: the Efate never was as phobic towards psionics as Imperials were, and often consider the 'truthful' Zhodani as basically more honorable than Imperials.
Between 1000 and 1107, the Imperium/Domain/Regency had to send Marine unit's no less than *fifteen* times to restore the peace, with each incident worse than the last. During one of these incident's - the famous Razor Wars of 1107 - most of Makitii District was thrown in a state of chaos, requiring Imperial Marines to put down the rebellion (078-1107). The Imperials expected a walkover, considering the rather poor equipment the lesser noble armies had.
The rebellious nobles didn't have much in the way of fancy equipment, but they were well prepared, and - with plenty of Zhodani advise and psionic aid - were able to hit the Marines unexpectedly hard throughout the Cackiit Highlands. While their tactic of using a Mercenary Cruiser to deliver a 5MT nuclear warhead to the main body of Imperial troops failed, several other subterfuges - including sneaking a large supply of heavy fusion rifles - were successful.
The marines were just getting a bead on the rebellion put down when the Fifth Frontier War swept through Regina subsector, placing Efate under siege from 214-1107 to the armistice, declared at 099-1110 (The war was officially declared over at 001-1111).
Ferocious naval clashes ensured between the Zhodani 1st Assault Fleet - tasked to take Efate - and the defending Imperial 193rd Fleet. However, because the Zhodani could not secure their supply line through Louzy, the 1st Assault Fleet couldn't bring their full potential force to bear against the 193rd. The unconquered Imperial outposts at Louzy could also supply information to Imperial forces regarding incoming reinforcements, permitting the 193rd to successfully defend against several offensives.
From mid-1109, the Zho's were releasing ships to fight at other fronts, but were still strong enough to resist the Imperial attempt to relieve Efate during Operation Iedshrpr (launched 029-1109), spearheaded by elements of the Corridor Fleet.
The intense fighting was used by the High Houses as the justification used to purge the lesser houses from all government positions. This led to even more embittered fighting, and eventually to several ugly atrocities. In the aftermath of the Fifth Frontier War, most of the lesser houses was stripped of their titles and exiled to Ley Sector by order of the Emperor: most of the major leadership was shot for High Treason. With the leadership of the Lesser Houses not only destroyed, but considered dishonorable - this in a culture that values honor above all else - the continual brushfire wars of Efate came to an permanent end.
While the Servani Cults are the most flamboyant religion on Efate, the dominant religion remains Imperial Catholicism. The Deneb Rite remains the most influential with over half the population's allegiance, but Sylean, American, and Vilani Rites are also common.
The population is quite pious, and place strong emphasis on the graciousness of the Lord. Assorted religious meetings - from major religious festivals to spontaneous 'street dancing' - is quite common. While Efate does not have the most awe-inspiring cathedrals or the most learned and wise of churchmen, they do embrace their faith with vigor and joy. Which is somewhat ironic: about 2/3rds of Regency Christians believe that nonhumans shouldn't be allowed to join the church, either because they lack the "imageo dei" (the Image of God), or because they feel that Christianity is about God speaking to men, and that God would use other native religions to speak to nonhumans, not Christianity.
The tendency of Efate Catholics to stress the power of the Holy Spirit - and to utterly ignore the commandments and laws of God - tends to aggravate most Catholic churchmen. Never mind the problem of whether Jesus died for nonhuman sinners or not, or even if this theology even makes sense when applied to aliens. Or even if Efate are 'sinners' in any meaningful sense: how can they transgress a law that they never received?