“As if being born Diasporan wasn’t enough, Technician Nash Korpes had the bad luck to resemble his Tyran ancestors almost identically in both form, and manner. These traits, though highly prized by the special projects division at the shadowy Korlune Military Research and Development, mark him as a specter from their warlike past.
With only his intellect holding his sanity in place, he wages a private war against the entire socioeconomic status quo, and begins to uncover the truth that threatens them all.”
Is there a system of magic?
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Clarkes Third Law
Using the above qualifier, there are several ‘magical/paranormal/preternatural’ elements in my series, but book one doesn’t delve into them beyond leaving a trail of breadcrumbs.
The Technology of Tamyrh:
Both Korlune and Ankoresh are retrograde societies; generations of conflict among six of the seven races has left its mark on the surface of the world and dramatically reduced what technology is left. Archives of any significant age are rare as digital warfare was one of the early methods used, and viruses were plentiful. All resources, including technology, are now recycled/upcycled and augmented as inventors are rare. The radiation levels, ‘topside’ have dropped enough for the use of digi-link (think wireless) communications outside of shielded areas, but the slower, hard-link systems are still more reliable. Both cultures use these as the basis for all of their technology, and this is where their similarity ends.
The Northern country, Korlune, is ahead of Ankoresh by over half a century. Their grand, domed ‘Cluster Cities’ are opulent, and their military is well equipped. Most credit the Korlo advantage with the fact that they face the greatest environmental challenges. Korlune is trapped between the Hotari Sea and a massive, toxic jungle called the Seep, that spreads out from the Evora Basin. Water is acidic (about the same caustic level as acid rain in a heavily polluted cosmopolitan area) on Tamyrh and requires treatment to be made potable. Its citizens are forced to live in domed cities or underground to survive the constant storms that spin off Lake Evora. Traveling ‘topside’ requires planning and full-body envirosuits.
Maglev technology is the standard in transportation underground or in the cities, though all topside transports have a hard-link propulsion system for emergencies.
The Korlo med-tech level is advanced; genetic manipulation, cloning, and 3D printing replacement organs are common … there are even rumors of clones walking among the population.
Food is grown in massive, vertical hydroponic gardens and then distributed to the Cluster Cities. Note: Farming on this magnitude was only made possible a generation ago, thanks to the advances in water purification made by Harlo-Fyre, the leading research and development corporation in Thallen. From there, any food or water that remains is sent to the Trade Guild who then oversees how it’s released to the Diasporan population. The Diasporan have water recyclers and gardens on site, but all of the sites require subsidies from the Trade Guild.
The Southern country, Ankoresh, is situated on a high plateau. It sees as much rainfall as the Atacama Desert, which allows its citizens the luxury of living in sprawling cities that are exposed to the environment. Unlike their Northern neighbors, the Ankor aren’t comfortable with being tech-reliant; most prefer technology that serves a specific purpose and is easy to fix, but digi-link tech has become popular over the last decade.
Ankoresh’s medical system is also behind the Korlo model, though that shouldn’t suggest that they’re backward. They are in the initial stages of clone research and decoding the genome, but scientists face opposition from within their own ranks.
They too use hydroponic gardens for their food but must rely on deep wells and moisture farms for their water supply. Citizens are encouraged to grow food in their homes to augment supplies, and are given the opportunity to sell any surplus in city markets.
What are the people who inhabit your world like?
All but one group would be considered humanoid in appearance, and like us, they are diverse in both personality and motivation. They can be divided into the following groups – those in charge and those who are not. Here is a breakdown of their physical and dominant personality traits:
Citizens of Korlune and Ankoresh:
- Korlo – Xenophobic. Medium complexion, blue eyes, straight chestnut brown to black hair. They have a highly-organized class structure; ‘Rank’ is all for some Korlo.
Note: The refugees enjoy some rights and privileges within the Korlo system, but cannot own property outside of their native Diaspora as they have no ‘Rank’. To work outside of their cities, they must be sponsored by either a Korlo corporation, the military, or Korlune Military Research and Development (KMR and D).
- Ankor – Aggressive. Medium to dark complexion, light brown to hazel eyes, curly black hair. They too have a class structure, but the prejudice isn’t as obvious.
Note: The refugees have a few more rights in Ankoresh, but again, not as many as someone who is Ankor does. A Diasporan must be sponsored to legally work in the Capital.
The Refugee population (Diasporan) are made up of:
- Birlo – Aggressive. Dark complexion, light brown to amber eyes, straight through curly black hair. They have a negative pheromone response to Tyrans which only abates once they hit their mid 40s.
- Ebo – Peaceful. Dark to black complexion, deep brown to black eyes, wavy jet black hair.
- Drakkar – Competitive. Fair to medium complexion, silver blue eyes, straight, dark hair ranging from black to red.
- Tyran – Aggressive. Pale to fair complexion, green eyes, straight through curly blond hair. They have a negative pheromone response to the Birlo which only abates after they mature into their 40s.
- ‘The Collective’ – they can look like anyone, and frequently do.
Generations of living under domes has had a negative impact on Korlo height; the majority would be shortish by our standards. The average height for men is between 1.7meters (5’ 5”) and 1.75 meters (5’ 8”); women range in height from 1.5 (4’ 9”) meters to 1.7 meters (5’ 5”). The only exceptions are those who have Tyran ancestry, who are often several centimeters taller than average.
Those who live in Ankoresh have a more standard human range of heights, and those with Tyran blood have exceeded the 1.85 (6’ 1”) meter mark.
The Diasporan have only been in Korlune and Ankoresh for the last five hundred years, but they’ve begun to change to suit their adopted homes.
Genetic dwarfs and midgets also occur naturally in all groups as does albinism. Throwbacks are anomalies that occur only in the Diasporan population and are defined as having 3 or more of the genetic markers of a single racial group.
Are they based on real-world cultures?
Yes, I used elements from a spectrum of cultures to create my races; I wanted there to be enough of a sub-current of the familiar to feel real. The refugee situation shares common points with real-world affairs. Arranged marriage and controls on population are other topics that wove their threads into the story.
What systems of government are in place?
Korlune is governed by a Corporatocracy. The five Cluster Cities each have a representative that sits on the Council and oversees all aspects of the lives of their citizens.
Ankoresh was once ruled by a group of martial families, but twenty years prior to the beginning of book one, one family took control in a bloodless coup. Now they function as a military dictatorship.
What about non-human characters:
Alien and Sentient Lifeforms:
‘The Collective’ would count as the outlier among the humanoid groups. In book one, few beyond the reader know of them/it as they maintain their anonymity for reasons known only to themselves.
The Seep is a sentient jungle that surrounds the Evora Basin. It ‘breathes’ at night, issuing forth toxic spores that take root and quickly grow into new flora. Mold is lethal. ‘Burn Crews’ operate full time to keep it from gaining ground. Korlune has lost two Cluster Cities and numerous outposts to this menace in the last hundred years and it has been unofficially assigned sentient status for its seeming ability to adapt to the strategy and tactics used by the Burn Crews.
Animals exist both underground and ‘topside’, and have evolved over the millennia to cope with their hostile world. I have a bestiary in the works, where I’ll cover more, but for now, I’ll give you the ones mentioned in book one.
Korva are large, winged rats, that occupy all but the busiest tunnels. They aren’t dangerous unless they’re hungry, or when they’ve been startled, and they swarm. They will eat those who get lost in the tunnels.
Silverii are small mice that have a distinctive silver-colored fur. They also have a reputation for stealing shiny objects and eating holes in metal. Omnivores, their bite is dangerous as the toxin in their saliva numbs the site, prevents coagulations, and leaves the victim open to airborne infections.
Above ground, insects thrive in the Seep, as do a rich variety of birds.
Larger mammals roam the plains of Korlune; marmots, wild sheep, and other small ungulates, seeking shelter in rocky outcroppings only during the most violent storms. The largest of these is the cat-like Meerac (picture a cross between a lynx and a sabre-tooth lion). Although these green-eyed carnivores are solitary hunters, they have been documented gathering in packs to attack surface transports to get at the occupants. The Kualt is a shy, foxlike creature that has been spotted in all environments from Korlune to Ankoresh. It has an almost chameleon-like ability to change its fur color to match its surroundings.
I don’t explore Ankoresh in book one, but their unique climate is perfect for reptiles; snakes and lizards of all descriptions are common, in fact, tiny, glider lizards are often caught and kept as pets by children.
The Sentient A.I.:
C01 is the call name for the A.I. that operates on the covert BBS. Its job appears to be greeting those who stumble upon the archive, signing in known users, as well as maintain the background programs and security of the site. Few users are aware that it autonomously recovers and lists sections of the archive that require repair or special attention, and that it has the power to lock that information away as well.
Is there a religious system in place?
Yes. At one point, there were several religions, but as those cultures were swallowed up in the Diasporan migration, only the devout carried the word forward. In the Korlo Cluster Cities, those who still practice the old traditions are viewed as an oddity, but not mocked for it.
Among the Diasporan cities, religious practices are based off who the original settlers of the site were. Diaspora 12, or Astel as it is also known, was settled by refugees with a higher percentage of Tyran ancestry. Nash’s grandmother is a practicing ‘Kai’ and adheres to the precepts set out in the Kai Dahl.
I include the following passage from “The Korpes File” as it sums up Nash’s thoughts on religion:
“I’m curious, Nash, are you religious?” Vivienne watched as Nash stood and stretched.
He paused mid-movement and considered the question. “Why?”
“It’s not in your file, and you invoke the ‘Gods’ a lot.”
“Really? I’ll have to watch that at home. My Amma is a practicing Kai.”
“So, you’re Kai?” Vivienne took his pulse then made a notation on her digipad.
“No. I was drafted before I could go through the rituals of dedication.”
“Oh. I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware—”
“It’s alright, ma’am. No harm, no foul. The philosophy is interesting, but.” He smiled and shrugged.
“Please, continue, I’m interested.”
“Per the Kai-Dahl, Harkkur and Suulhé embody what’s darkest and lightest of the Divine spectrum, in that order. The Seven Facets: Galathe, Ulo, Sye, Tangl, Khos, Phar, and Chiralh, are their avatars and have a dark and a light side to their attributes. The teachings would have it that we are the foci for the Seven, and the direction their intent follows varies according to where we’re at at the moment. We offer up prayers to the Seven, individually, when something doesn’t manifest cleanly.”
“And the rest of your family? Are they devout?”
“My sister, Diani, still attends services, but I think that’s more for Amma’s sake. Mom converted when she married Dad, but she stopped attending after he was killed.” His smile faded. “Anyway, at the end of your life, if you’ve been faithful, Suulhé collects your soul. If you’ve been less than, you go to Harkkur—” Nash paused to yawn. “In a practical sense, the prayers keep you focused on self-improvement, but I’m a bit of a heretic. I think the ‘Gods’ represent what’s best and worst in us and that we’re each responsible for our own actions.”
“And yet you still invoke them?” Vivienne teased. Her digipad beeped, but she shut off the alert.
Nash chuckled. “I still pray sometimes, too. Maybe I’m just hedging my bets.
That’s my spot; I hope I’ve managed to pique your interest in “The Korpes File” and subsequent books in “The 942 Series”. Thanks for reading and a special thank you to “Our Epic Worlds Blog” for making this possible.
J. I. Rogers
WARNING: The Korpes File contains coarse language, adult situations, and controversial themes such as, but not limited to racism, xenophobia, arranged marriage, genocide, and genetic experimentation. Set against a dystopian sci-fi backdrop, and told from multiple point-of-views, the story centers around the main character’s experiences as a genetic anomaly.