Difference between revisions of "Series Resurrecta Fictions"
(→[April 13th, 2365] Excerpt from the book 'Tales of a Wounded Great War Pilot')
(→[January 24th, 2368] Civilian Media Investigation Report "Questions they won't let us answer about the Shivans")
|Line 131:||Line 131:|
If we really want to get to the bottom of the problem, the reason behind all of the big unanswered questions, we have to go back to where everything started.
If we really want to get to the bottom of the problem, the reason behind all of the big unanswered questions, we have to go back to where everything started.
If you're guessing what star we're showing right now, you're guessing right, it's Ross 128. Don't be fooled by
If you're guessing what star we're showing right now, you're guessing right, it's Ross 128. Don't be fooled by glow coming from a red dwarf. The mysteries that lay in this system are far greater than previously thought.
Some of you watching this episode are Capellan refugees, looking for a new place to call home. You
Some of you watching this episode are Capellan refugees, looking for a new place to call home. You wonder what lies between the tragedy of your homeworlds' collapse and the source of the Shivan incursions in the Great War. To date, there are no clear - let alone official - explanations on how the Great War actually ended. There's the majestic, glorious end - that of the Lucifer - but there was an actual end to the war, the last encounter between a Shivan and a Terran or Vasudan ship.
Details this last encounter are unknown. We have no idea how it took place, we know it happened in this system, somewhere in the void of space, it led to the disappearance of the Shivans for over three decades. We still hear from scientists who believe the Shivans used interstellar jump drives capable of jump nodes, proving such drives may theoretically possible, but how accurate are these hypotheses?
Furthermore, we believe that hiding the truth from honest GTVA citizens is an insult to the sacrifices
Furthermore, we believe that hiding the truth from honest GTVA citizens is an insult to the sacrifices by our loved ones in the past forty-five years of galactic conflict and challenging reconstruction efforts. We may be as resilient as phoenixes rising from ashes, but at what point do we the ignorance of the past, especially when said ignorance is by somebody? How can we possibly live our lives and even plan to reopen the Sol jump node using Knossos-derived technology, if we're so unsure about what us ?
Should we even plan to go this far, knowing that, even if it is sealed from the rest of colonized space, Sol is - as far as we know
Should we even plan to go this far, knowing that, even if it is sealed from the rest of colonized space, Sol is - as far as we know - a safe place?
===[November 14th, 2352] Memories of a veteran from the 53rd Hammerheads===
===[November 14th, 2352] Memories of a veteran from the 53rd Hammerheads===
Revision as of 12:47, 1 November 2020
|The following information has not been confirmed by Volition |
and is therefore not canon for the FreeSpace universe. Also, it may contain spoilers regarding Series Resurrecta campaigns.
Series Resurrecta includes a number of fictions, each preceding a mission on all of its campaigns. Many of the fictions are relevant to the SR campaigns themselves, while others try to answer big questions concerning the FreeSpace Universe. SR fictions use special fonts, depending on their nature (e.g., transcripts from books use a specific font, while excerpts from an Ancient excavation site report use a different style).
Current fictions have been written by mission designer Mobius, and have been proofread by lordhood117. Composer Rich Douglas created the Stories from a Perturbed Cosmos tracks which are played as SR fictions are shown on screen.
One set of fictions called Tales of a Reporter, feared to be lost forever, has been replaced by new texts during the upgrade process of Gehenna's Gate. Said set was later recovered by chance, and turned into species.tbl entries.
Please note that the following content may be spoiler for Series Resurrecta and, in particular, the Shadows of the Great War collection.
- 1 Gehenna's Gate
- 1.1 [July 10th, 2359] Speech to new Modern History graduates at Polaris Public University I
- 1.2 [September 2nd, 2341] Report of Akheton Corporation Delegation to the Imperial Palace
- 1.3 [March 5th, 2335] Epitaph in a devastated Ancient settlement in Altair IV
- 1.4 [February 18th, 2320] Excerpt from "An introduction to subspace, the great physical wonder"
- 1.5 [April 13th, 2365] Excerpt from the book 'Tales of a Wounded Great War Pilot'
- 1.6 [August 5th, 2337] Classified transcript from the interrogation of a Hammer of Light fanatic
- 1.7 [January 24th, 2368] Civilian Media Investigation Report "Questions they won't let us answer about the Shivans"
- 1.8 [November 14th, 2352] Memories of a veteran from the 53rd Hammerheads
- 2 The Spirit of Ptah
- 2.1 [July 29th, 2329] First excerpt from "Beyond the Enemy: understanding Vasudan culture"
- 2.2 [July 29th, 2329] Second excerpt from "Beyond the Enemy: understanding Vasudan culture"
- 2.3 [July 29th, 2329] Third excerpt from "Beyond the Enemy: understanding Vasudan culture"
- 2.4 [July 29th, 2329] Fourth excerpt from "Beyond the Enemy: understanding Vasudan culture"
- 2.5 [July 29th, 2329] Fifth excerpt from "Beyond the Enemy: understanding Vasudan culture"
- 2.6 [July 29th, 2329] Sixth excerpt from "Beyond the Enemy: understanding Vasudan culture"
[July 10th, 2359] Speech to new Modern History graduates at Polaris Public University I
In a conflict where battlefields are as large as star systems, we must ask ourselves at which point the term 'victory' would have the same meaning as it possessed in the past.
Moreover, we must determine how that term changes depending on whether it's a war of conquest or a war of defense. To do so would help define the meaning of a military’s claim to 'victory' on a battlefield that spans an entire system.
The days of the Great War are long gone. At that point, most of you weren't even born yet, and those among you who were would have been infants still learning how to walk and talk.
People like me do remember that unique sense of terror. We were coming out of fourteen long years of conventional conflict with another species. The odds of two species encountering each other in space, let alone fighting each other, were so miniscule we couldn't even calculate them.
Then the Shivans appeared. They redefined the concepts of threat, destruction, invasion and survival. They taught us what these words really meant, and made us realize that what counted as conquering a star system, or winning a war with another species, are both intrinsically dependent on who's the winner. A winner like the Shivans won't just achieve space superiority. It will also wipe all life and civilization from a planet, just as it did with Vasuda Prime.
The sudden discovery of yet another species, the Ancients, allowed us to prevent Earth's fall to such a fate.
Earth, a homeworld you have never visited, yet perceive as something important but only remotely tied to your life.
The past is a key factor in shaping the future. Knowledge of the past will help the GTVA regain and maintain its glory. Some of you may have already heard the term 'The Lost Generation.' It is increasingly used as a way to describe those like you who have never been to Sol. Worry not, for you are not Lost. You will lead the future of humanity, which no longer needs its homeworld to survive and prosper.
Let the new homeworld, our 'Neo Terra' of sorts, be everywhere you'll be calling home in the days, months, and years to come.
[September 2nd, 2341] Report of Akheton Corporation Delegation to the Imperial Palace
For the attention of Emperor Khonsu II:
It is with great honor and pleasure that we introduce the finalized report and digital model of Project Sobek. The tenth annex of this confidential document is focused on the possibility of implementing beam weapon technology in this design.
As you are already aware, the concept of this design is based on declassified reports of the SCv Moloch, a 'corvette' class of warship encountered in the late stages of the Great War.
At first erroneously interpreted as a large cruiser, the Moloch was something else. The Moloch is an intermediate class combining the speed and flexibility of cruisers with the firepower and endurance of destroyers. We have designated this new class ‘corvette’.
It proved to be so versatile that joint teams of Vasudan and Terran engineers analyzed all available reports on the few ships of this class that had been encountered. Subsequently the concept of the corvette class was introduced to strategists.
Unlike the Shivan design we based our work on, what will likely become the GVC-V Sobek lacks a fighter bay. Our reports and tests proved that the inclusion of a fighter bay would significantly decrease the hull integrity of the warship without adding any tactical capabilities other than hosting a wing of small-to-medium fighters.
Compared to the Moloch, however, the Sobek’s firepower is considerably greater and the sleek design is expected to make the Sobek more efficient in combat, both in attack and defense. This is a similar result to that of the Terran Deimos, which is also expected to be manufactured very soon. We believe the Sobek will fulfil a number of roles the Deimos may be too logistically complex to perform.
Both ships will be vital for the future of Vasudan and Terran fleets. In our effort to renew our fleets, the Sobek will be the key to efficiencies in strategies, logistics and combat. Under the right conditions, as tested in the attached war simulations, two ships of this class can compete directly with any known destroyer and come out victorious.
The final production phase awaits Your approval, Emperor.
[March 5th, 2335] Epitaph in a devastated Ancient settlement in Altair IV
Discovered by Vasudan survivors from the Vasuda Prime massacre.
"A lone survivor joined us two Glorious Homeworld cycles ago, the only survivor from an entire colony of our people to escape from a devastated system. It was truly a miracle."
"It was so unbelievable at first that, for a moment, we thought it was bait, a way for the Destroyers to expose our settlement of survivors and make its location known. It ultimately turned out to be a genuine spacecraft of our race, coming from several beloved star systems distant."
"The survivor piloting it was severely wounded, but we managed to provide basic cures. Among the data and archives carried in the approaching emergency spacecraft were testimonies of a prosperity long gone. We also discovered how the Destroyers employed [Trains of Doom] in that system, as well as in the neighbouring systems of our once mighty empire. These massive convoys of ‘Trains of Doom’ were difficult to detect and monitor. Days after their disappearance, they would be followed by large Destroyer armadas, attacking our people from flanks and even from behind, in systems one or two [Subspace] jumps away from the frontlines."
"The reports from our people in that colony provided us with significant intelligence. They had learned that in many systems the Destroyers had hidden away fleets capable of staying in stasis for millennia, before their reactivation by a Train of Doom. Once reactivated, the fleets would join their main force and eliminate whatever trace of our once beautiful civilization they detected."
"These same awakened fleets were seen employing a bombing tactic never seen before in the invasion, a weapon of terror that could use subspace to... [indecipherable due to excessive superficial damage.]"
"The survivor, messenger of a doomed branch of our fallen Empire, ultimately passed away from a disease we were no longer able to cure with what little we now have. Its treatment would have needed mere minutes in our old, great epochs of prosperity and glory. If anything, the pilot was lucky. Unlike us, he will not have to live through the last few remaining days of existence, eye witnessing our complete extinction not only as a civilization, but as a species."
[February 18th, 2320] Excerpt from "An introduction to subspace, the great physical wonder"
Subspace and gravity appear to be connected to each other, albeit in a somewhat complex relationship. Although most of the features of subspace are still a mystery to us, we have observed a strong connection between it and gravitational fields. It doesn't necessarily mean that all of subspace requires the presence of gravity fields to allow travel, as ably demonstrated by interstellar jump nodes, but it shows how, at the very least, the roots of this phenomenon are connected to gravity.
Since the very beginning of subspace exploitation, it has been noted that the amount of energy necessary for an intrasystem jump is proportional to the intensity of the gravitational field, and its distribution with respect to a given craft's route. For example, jumping towards the center of a star system requires less energy compared to a journey away from said center. The difference in terms of energy required is negligible for modern subspace drives, but it was a major factor in early experiments. It has also been proven that proximity to an interstellar jump node does not act as an auxiliary gravity source. Therefore, jump nodes do not affect the energy required for intrasystem jumps.
Intersystem jumps follow very different rules. The energy required for such jumps is way beyond the capabilities of small spacecraft, and poses a challenge for even the largest ships. However, it is not proportional to the distance between two stable jump nodes. This leads one to assume, as described in greater detail in later chapters of this publication, that while intrasystem jumps are vastly affected by gravity, intersystem jumps are not. Instead, intersystem jumps rely on some kind of subspace ‘flow’, which, once entered, allows ships to pass through it with little effort beyond the energy expended from entering subspace. Gravity seems to play no role in this flow, as the gravitational field of connected star systems is negligible at best during travel. There's no influence from external gravity sources, either, because the subspace flow passes through interstellar space, whose density is low. Further in the publication, hypotheses and experiments showing the existence of a subspace flow will be shown...
[April 13th, 2365] Excerpt from the book 'Tales of a Wounded Great War Pilot'
The Top-Brass maintained secrecy over the Iksura freighters and their huge cargo capacity for quite a while. The reason? Morale. It was bad enough they had to admit that the Shivans had us beat when it came to numbers, shields, weapons, hyperspace mastery and what not. Can you imagine how much worse it would have been if they had to admit that they trounced us in logistics, comms, sensors and Electronic Warfare too? That’s my hypothesis anyway. Could there be something else behind it as well? Who knows?
One thing I can tell you for sure: facing them in combat was as frightening as facing a destroyer or similar warship. You're out there, in the void of space, pretending you are shooting at a sitting duck, except this sitting duck and its cargo are shooting back at you, and they are better armed, armored, and protected than one of our Fenris-class cruisers. Think about that, let it sink in, then add one important factor to the equation: a jamming field whose strength and range would prevent any sensor lock from being gained. No missile that required a lock could be launched against these... Doomtrains. None at all.
It gets worse. That jamming field also scrambles your sensors, so your situational awareness turns to crud. It screws with your coms too, so you are cut off from your allies, their messages, their calls for help and so on. This cuts both ways of course, so you can’t call out to them for help either, and if your secondary banks run dry you can forget about calling in a support ship to rearm. This isolation was a powerful psychological weapon, at times more frightening than their turrets.
We suspected the Doomtrains had a weakness however, and when we were finally able to put it to the test, we were proved right. Destroy any of the components in the train and it would trigger a chain reaction, destroying the components next to it. Kill the freighter itself and all ten of the SAC 4’s it was towing would go up in flames right along with it. Classic domino effect, beautiful. We were not sure why this would happen, but we guessed it was a self-destruct mechanism designed to prevent their tech from being captured by an enemy.
The brass figured that only the most vital supplies and components would be carried by Iksuras. I know the brass were salivating over the chance to scan one of those things. Trust me, we tried, but against that jamming it simply wasn’t happening. Capturing one and opening it up for a look-see was off the table too due to the self-destruct mechanism. Whatever those things were carrying, the Shivans really didn’t want us getting our hands on it.
Who would have thought such a strategic headache could stem from a mere freighter? Freighters were supposed to be easy prey - the targets rooks cut their teeth on while us veterans mixed it up with the fighters. Clearly, the Shivans didn’t get that memo, or they weren’t playing by the rules.
Now think on this - what if the Iksuras were responsible for maintaining entire Shivan fleets with their mysterious cargo? That would make them second only to the Lucifer in terms of strategic importance. That's the lesson we learned at Ross 128.
[August 5th, 2337] Classified transcript from the interrogation of a Hammer of Light fanatic
"To what degree were you involved in the final efforts of the Alliance in countering the Shivans in Ross 128?"
"I was deployed by my guru to investigate Shivan activity in the system."
"How was this activity carried out?"''
"I was the pilot of a retrofitted Seshat scout fighter. I had enough supplies in my spacecraft to perform a reconnaissance mission lasting an entire month. I then staged my loss in a reconnaissance operation, self-destructed my craft, and provided my guru with the information he needed. One of our comrades picked me up and organized my transfer back to safe systems."
"What kind of information have you been able to provide, and by what means?"
"We learned that the Destroyers, as per our prophecies, were not defeated. There was something else besides the Lucifer controlling them. It was replacing the Lucifer's lost command and control function. It then would have conquered Vasudan and Terran space, succeeding where the Lucifer had failed."
"I see. Continue..."
"Those were testing times for our ideals, and our faith. The Hammer of Light seemed doomed, oblivion the only possible outcome. Millennia of prophecies were being disproved, or so thought those who’s faith was wavering. We, the truly faithful, knew better and our discovery proved our sacred prophecies correct. That truth had to be delivered back to our systems to stop the mass defections and suicides among Hammer of Light loyalists."
"Were you aware of other activities being carried out on the frontline?"
"Yes, I know that some of our own loyalists were onboard the PVD Imhotep. Others were spread amongst the members of the battle group. Every single ship had some of our faithful onboard. Some of us managed to slow down joint Vasudan-Terran operations by performing surgical strikes and driving PVE and GTA strategists into chaos. They were ultimately fooled into attributing those failures to new Destroyer designs they hadn't yet encountered. That allowed us to go unnoticed for weeks."
"Describe one such act of sabotage to joint Vasudan-Terran operations."
"It happened days after the destruction of the Lucifer. Some of our loyalists were sent to Delta Serpentis to deal with a Cain cruiser which seemed unusually well guarded for a ship of its class. We believed it was the sign of something greater, and the moment we saw the Shivans using a previously unseen weapon, we realized it was time to become the messengers of a new truth. We haven't stopped ever since."
[January 24th, 2368] Civilian Media Investigation Report "Questions they won't let us answer about the Shivans"
Aired on most public GTVA channels
If we really want to get to the bottom of the problem, the reason behind all of the big unanswered questions, we have to go back to where everything started.
If you're guessing what star we're showing you right now, you're guessing right, it's Ross 128. Don't be fooled by the comforting glow coming from a common place red dwarf. The mysteries that lay in this system are far greater than previously thought.
Some of you watching this episode are Capellan refugees, looking for a new place to call home. You may wonder what lies between the tragedy of your homeworlds' collapse and the source of the Shivan incursions in the Great War. To date, there are no clear - let alone official - explanations on how the Great War actually ended. There's the majestic, glorious end - that of the Lucifer - but there was an actual end to the war, the last encounter between a Shivan and a Terran or Vasudan ship.
Details of this last encounter are unknown. We have no idea how and when it took place, we know it happened in this system, somewhere in the void of space, and it led to the disappearance of the Shivans for over three decades. We still hear from scientists who believe the Shivans used interstellar jump drives capable of traversing unstable jump nodes, thus proving that such drives may be theoretically possible, but how accurate are these hypotheses?
Furthermore, we believe that hiding the truth from honest GTVA citizens is an insult to the sacrifices made by our loved ones in the past forty-five years of galactic conflict and challenging reconstruction efforts. We may be as resilient as phoenixes rising from the ashes, but at what point do we reject the ignorance of the past, especially when said ignorance is being enforced by somebody? How can we possibly live our lives and even plan to reopen the Sol jump node using Knossos-derived technology, if we're so unsure about what might follow us there?
Should we even plan to go this far, knowing that, even if it is sealed from the rest of colonized space, Sol is - as far as we know - a safe place? If we reopen the jump node to Sol, would we also be holding the door open for the Shivans as well? Is this a risk we are prepared to take? Do we have the right to imperil the people of Sol? These are the questions we need answering, but will the GTVA allow us to try?
[November 14th, 2352] Memories of a veteran from the 53rd Hammerheads
Written on his personal diary, recovered by the heirs after his death, on September 18th, 2388
Shortly after our final victory over the Lucifer, I felt relieved about the possibility of not facing the Shivans ever again. This feeling has changed over the years, of course, effectively turning me into what I am right now. I am now obsessed, puzzled by what I, for a long time, believed was but a memory of the past. It now chases me, over and over, even in my dreams. I seem to be the only person around here who spends most of the day thinking about what lies beyond the sealed jump node.
The victory over such an enemy came at a price going far beyond the meaning of what we learned from past history, when it comes to conflicts. There was a military victory, at least a local one, and that was the moment the Lucifer fell to our attack aimed at its multiple reactors. But a seal was imposed, and one system had to be cut off from the others, dismantling decades of space colonization in fractions of a second. That was the ultimate cost of our victory.
We have no idea about the evolution of the conflict on the other side of the node. There are many possibilities, all driven by questions I will never be able to answer, as no one probably will for many years to come. I do wonder, however, if the war for survival on the other side had a similar ending to what happened here, in the form of a second, maybe a third or fourth, sealing of a system from the cosmic net of subspace flow.
Is this the lesson learnt from the Destroyers? Disappear into the oblivion of endless space, with your species going extinct, or merely slow down the process by self isolating? Is isolation the final solution over a galactic conflict with an enemy that won't come for your resources, instead overwhelms you with technology and numbers, then aims to cancel your entire civilization with no trace whatsoever of a contact, a will for peace?
Are the survivors on the other side, providing that they're still alive, in a chasing marathon with destiny, a fight for survival where cutting the branches of a colossal tree is the only way to preserve life?
[July 29th, 2329] First excerpt from "Beyond the Enemy: understanding Vasudan culture"
One thing that may be more due to common stereotypes than actual proof and evidence of their actions, is their supposed tendency to give individual lives less of a value compared to us. Suicides, kamikaze attempts and possibly brave actions with no consideration of the possible consequences, all seem to be more frequent in Vasudan culture compared to our own tendencies. An equal stereotype from their end sees us as greedy and unable to work together for a common, greater goal, as we are doomed to let our individual interests overcome it.
The ongoing war with this alien species leads us - if we want to analyze their culture objectively - to view their behaviors in combat separately from what they do in civilian life. From what we understand, Vasudans with roles and responsibilities have enormous psychological pressure, regardless of their skills. They're meritocratic, in the sense that they seem to ignore all internal differences with respect to social rank, thus allowing the most skilled and talented of them to have notable careers in the context of their respective castes, and only the highest of ranks are predominantly driven by inheritance.
Vasudans with specific roles in politics and the academic world take this pressure very, very seriously. Governors failing to achieve specific pre-set objectives of their political mandates may oftentimes end their careers in dishonored retirement, or even commit suicide. Lecturers and researchers whose works are proven to be weak or wrong under strict checks within their communities may also end their careers so abruptly. All of this happens in our own culture, too, but more rarely, thereby leading to rigid stereotypes on both sides.
While, from the Vasudans' perspective, all of this may be an interpretation of death as a necessary means to obtain honor and fulfill some particular goal, this can be actually interpreted as their way to adore life and what it offers.
[July 29th, 2329] Second excerpt from "Beyond the Enemy: understanding Vasudan culture"
A lot has been written and said about the Vasudan language and its countless dialects, with stereotypes indicating such forms of expressions as absurdly complicated, as words may change - even radically so - depending on social rank, the distance to Vasuda Prime, the underlying circumstances of the conversation and myriad other factors.
This extra complexity, which adds to the overall complexity of the many thousands of dialects spoken by the Vasudans, may seem difficult to understand and justify by trying to relate it to modern Terran languages. It's commonly interpreted, in fact, as yet another sign of ritualism and superstition injected by the Vasudans into virtually any endeavor in their lives, with the language being just one of the many examples supporting this thesis. As most linguists will agree, however, it doesn't differ that much from what our own languages have been based on in the past few millennia. While the overall complexity of these variations wasn't comparable to that of Vasudan languages, we have many notable examples in our own history proving that, unlike what the stereotypes seem to indicate, adding complexity to text and conversations is not a purely Vasudan tendency.
To be more specific, in Terran history, with only a few exceptions still persisting today, languages and dialects have taken into account contexts that would cause them to be difficult to understand under modern circumstances. One such factor was social rank, with differences depending on who was talking and who said person was talking to. All known examples were constrained by the fact that they were spoken by natives with extremely limited technological capabilities, as they obviously weren't space faring populations, but the fundamentals we extrapolate from archeological findings point to an apparent convergence.
Who knows with any certainty? Perhaps, had Terran history proceeded differently, we would be speaking with that same extra reverential complexity that the Vasudan language is built upon.
[July 29th, 2329] Third excerpt from "Beyond the Enemy: understanding Vasudan culture"
Vasuda Prime, the fourth planet of the Vasuda system, is the homeworld of this species at war with us. Unlike we Terrans, who managed to establish colonies on many planets and satellites of Sol, the Vasudans had to face a much greater challenge, as Vasuda Prime is the only major celestial body compatible with exploitable colonization in that system, so they've relied a lot on jump nodes to found new colonies in nearby systems. The discovery of subspace, in fact, was demonstrably much more of a blessing to the Vasudans than it was for us, and this is mostly due to Sol's peculiarities. We don't have the same need to expand our hegemony to other systems. This is one of the reasons why many suspect that the war was doomed to start regardless of the outcome of the two species’ first contacts, though this is still open to debate.
The planet is a rather tough environment, and many question how the Vasudans evolved and developed in such a scenario. Its landmass is divided into two major supercontinents which underwent a rifting event only a few million years ago, and are still moving apart from each other. The current geodynamic setting of Vasuda is similar, although far from equal, to that seen on Earth between the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. Much like with Earth over 250 million years ago, the formation of a single supercontinent - Pangaea, in our case - may lead to radical changes in the environments, with the expansion of deserts in the inner regions resulting in planetwide mass extinctions. Vasuda Prime hosted a colossal desert prior to the rifting event, caused by the collision of smaller continents, and even now, as the two major supercontinents are diverging, the surface is still mostly dominated by deserts. The Vasudans are believed to have evolved in coastal regions of the southern supercontinent, whose climate was more temperate, though still challenging. These geodynamical settings and the timing of past continental collisions have allowed Vasuda Prime to host hydrocarbon reserves at least one order of magnitude larger than those on Earth, and the exploitation of such reserves at the right stage of Vasudan history has allowed the technological boost that ultimately led them to become a space-faring species.
Unlike Terrans, who have developed more on the technology branch than on an evolutionary scale in the past few thousand years, the Vasudans appear to have experienced an anomalous change a few millennia ago, the origin of which is still debated.
[July 29th, 2329] Fourth excerpt from "Beyond the Enemy: understanding Vasudan culture"
The most puzzling and contradictory perception of the Vasudans is the one that sees them as soldiers who would blindly follow any kind of order given by their general. The reality couldn't be any more different than this perception, supported by fragmented and anecdotal evidence.
Though their respect towards authorities is unquestionable, applying to many endeavors beyond warfare, each Vasudan is asked to be judgmental and follow precise customs and courtesies to let someone with a higher rank know that they disagree about a choice. This occurrence is rare, but whenever it happens, it exposes a new facet of Vasudan culture and a way to interpret the formalities of authority in a more pragmatic manner. There are limited circumstances where any Vasudan could object to an extremely highly ranked member of their military or Parliament, and do so in a way that would seem absurd to us Terrans. Even in the greatest democracies of our past, the interaction between simple citizens or soldiers and their rules has always had some sort of filter, and our modern era is no exception, despite the GTA's status as a stable and solid democracy.
Where does the difference lie, then? How come a supposed stricter respect of higher authorities also accounts for interactions between Vasudans whose ranks are vastly different? Some interpret this as a legacy of past times, when the lack of technology allowed more direct interactions between Vasudans of different ranks, though strictly regulated by precise rituals. According to a different interpretation, this may be due to one specific and ancient ritual of Vasudan culture, which used to be very common in small villages with one or two leaders. This inherited tradition expects each Vasudan, at least once in a lifetime, to perform a ritual conversation with a person of a much higher rank, and discuss particular subjects which are determined by respective ranks. The date and content of the conversation would then be a solid part of one's achievements, in a way that would resemble a Terran diploma. Ancient Vasudan tombs have been confirmed to have inscriptions related to this ritual.
The truth may be within a combination of these two interpretations, which both differ quite a lot from what we've experienced in our own history. Imagine one of our ancestors getting the chance to talk to a king or ruler, and imagine the tomb having an inscription about that conversation as if it were a remarkable achievement, something that heirs would talk about for decades.
[July 29th, 2329] Fifth excerpt from "Beyond the Enemy: understanding Vasudan culture"
As a space faring species, could the Vasudans see the light of technological advance being darkened and shrouded by a veil of superstition? It appears that they potentially could. The Vasudans, regardless of their rank, take ancient texts and lessons from the past very seriously. Their concept of the past itself deserves its own explanation, as it constitutes a key to understanding this phenomenon.
The main point here is that the words we use to describe these sources of knowledge for the Vasudan people diverge quite a bit from their actual meaning, as seen from their perspective. We talk about Vasudan mythology and prophecies, and by using these words, we carry on implications that don't match the real values of these from their perspective. In Earth's history, a mythology was essentially the religion of a defunct civilization, while a prophecy is something tied to supernatural powers, and therefore very weak once analyzed with reason in mind. This is absolutely not what Vasudan 'mythology' and 'prophecies' are about; both of them, while still vague in their words and open to dozens of different interpretations, are tied to reality in a way far greater than most ancient texts and inscriptions in Terran history.
The paradox is that we've been influenced more by religion and superstition than the Vasudans have been, yet we took separate paths that ultimately led to our situation being reversed. Our own mythologies referred to hypothetical creatures and stories, while Vasudan 'mythologies' combined supernatural elements with primitive science, in an effort to explain natural phenomena and the intrinsic fundamentals of nature. How could this happen, how come we've ended up pretending to be the rational individuals, unlike our superstitious counterparts?
Once again, it's a subject with multiple hypotheses and no clear explanations or answers can be given. Researchers, however, point to the Vasudans' religious and political stability over millennia as the main reason behind this difference. While incredibly varied on their own, Vasudan cultures share a common root dating back to millennia ago, and this may have allowed tales and scripts to be carried over hundreds of generations with no changes whatsoever to their influence. It's not the case for ancient Terran cultures, which were geographically constrained and have undergone radical changes on the scale of decades, not millennia. It goes without saying that, as the social and religious momentum in their society is maintained, ancient texts acquire more and more importance thanks to their age.
This view, however, is not shared by many researchers who still see superstition as the source of these Vasudan behaviors.
[July 29th, 2329] Sixth excerpt from "Beyond the Enemy: understanding Vasudan culture"
Regardless of the Galactic Terran Alliance's monitoring of all texts and publications concerning the Vasudans, overwhelming evidence about their Parliament being seriously corrupted is hardly debatable. Such corruption is widespread and affects the lives of the Vasudan people in ways that, if hypothetically applied to the GTA itself, could fit the description of a not-so-benevolent dictatorship.
Corruption has been confirmed to have characterized the Parliament for a significant portion of its history, though sudden increases have been experienced - based on the information that we have - following the colonization of nearby systems. As reported before in this manuscript, the Vasudans are more dependent on space colonization than we are, and it's no secret that something as critically important as the discovery of subspace would have tremendous implications. Early Vasudan subspace travel was severely regulated and inaccessible to most, and the Parliament worked hard to maintain the economic balances of such a great discovery. Space colonization has increased corruption within the Parliament as a tool to control the flow of resources and the consequent influence of those responsible for the harvesting of said resources. The war made things even worse, as military elites put pressure on a number of political debates for things that seem more strictly related to their attempt to gain more influence than actually make decisions relevant to the war effort. Despite all of these major drawbacks, the Parliament as a political infrastructure performs its job, and we have learned more than once that its corruption isn't always a sign of weakness. The background noise caused by deep conflicts of interest does not prevent this entity from ruling over the Vasudan Empire and responding to actions taken by the GTA.
If we were to analyze the true potential of this phenomenon, we'd temporarily have to disregard the current political setting of the PVE. The current situation is atypical, as a war with another species undoubtedly makes certain interests fall to the wayside in favor of the struggle for survival, but what would happen in a different scenario? If anything, we estimate that the influence of certain elements within the Parliament may be so high that they could secretly divert resources, workforce and combatants to their own factions, if they wanted to. The institution is structured in a way that would allow a parallel fleet to the PVN to be formed and grown, albeit under specific circumstances.