Difference between revisions of "Vasudans"
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Revision as of 05:39, 21 February 2008
WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the following storylines:
- FreeSpace 1
- FreeSpace 2
The Vasudans are one of the major species within the Freespace Universe.
Vasudans, much like Terrans, are carbon based bipeds, standing upright with their two arms and hands used to manipulate tools. Usually standing at least several feet taller than Terrans, the skeletal looking Vasudan frame conceals a powerful musculature. Vasudans have brown, mottled skin, and a durable biological system that allows them to withstand the extremely harsh conditions of their home world.
Vasudans originate on the fourth planet of the Vasuda system, the only planet in that system that is capable of supporting life. Known as Vasuda Prime, is a relatively hostile world. Both of the twin continents of Vasuda Prime are almost entirely desert, and most of the above-ground water is, even by Vasudan standards, undrinkable. In order to adapt to these surroundings, Vasudans developed quite rapidly.
The Vasudans made first contact with the Terrans some time prior to 2321 (the starting date of the 14-Year War. Little data is available on the early days of Terran-Vasudan contact, but it can be assumed to have been quite strained, as it took what seems, through Terran eyes, to be a relatively minor event (a Terran mishandling of a Vasudan ritual known as "The Conversation") to trigger a war between the two species. This war dragged on for fourteen years, until the arrival of the Shivans in 2335.
The Shivans were not selective in their xenocide, attacking both Terrans and Vasudans indiscriminately, and technologically superior to both. Faced with such a foe, the Terrans and Vasudans formed a military alliance against them. Through this alliance, both Terran and Vasudan technology advanced considerably, with the development of fighter based shields and subspace drives, and subspace tracking, but it came with a terrible price. The Shivan flagship, the SD Lucifer, attacked the Vasudan homeworld from orbit, bombarding it for over seventeen hours, leaving the surface uninhabitable and killing billions. Shortly after this, the Lucifer was destroyed in the Delta Serpentis-Sol jump corridor, effectively ending the war against the Shivans.
Despite the loss of their homeworld, the Vasudan society continued on in the post war era, and managed to recover relatively well. With Vasuda Prime uninhabitable, the capital was moved to Aldebaran and for several years Vasudan society continued in a vein similar to that of the pre-war years. In 2339, however, this came to an abrupt end when the parliament that had ruled the Vasudan race during the previous years was put aside by the Vasudan emperor, Khonsu II, and a new government was formed. Led by the emperor, a leader of unusual acumen and wisdom, this new government led a species-wide economic, social and industrial reconstruction that considerably surpassed the fractured efforts of the Terrans.
Ten years after the Great War, in 2345, the first official Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance was signed. This treaty recognized the autonomy of the two member races, but provided the framework of mutual defence and trade agreements that would become the founding principles of a far stonger alliance. Following the signing of this treaty, Khonsu instigated the Colossus project, a massive joint project that would have theoretically defended both species from any future Shivan incursions.
It took twelve years, but in 2358 the Beta Aquilae Convention (BETAC) solidified the alliance that already existed, recognizing the Vasudan Imperium as one of the three supreme authorities in Terran-Vasudan Space (along with the General Assembly and the Security Council) as a part of the unified government of the Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance. Though the Vasudans and Terrans maintain separate fleets, these flees exist under a common command structure. Technology and information are openly and freely exchanged between the two species.
In 2366 (approximately) Vasudan society was shaken by the emergence of the Neo Terran Front, a Terran rebel group with a strong anti-Vasudan ideology. The NTF exploited the Terran bitterness and jealousy over the near miraculous recovery of the Vasudan society and economy after the Great War, and brought to light simmering tensions between the two theoretically unified species.
In 2367, eighteen months after this rebellion began, however, a greater threat presented itself, in the form of the return of a stronger Shivan armada. This new Shivan fleet was far more dangerous than the Lucifer fleet|, and managed to destroy the entire Capella system. At the same time, however, the NTF rebellion was finally put down, largely by the GTVA Colossus and its fleet. It is not known what impact these events will have on Vasudan society into the future.
At their core, the Vasudans are a civilization of philosophers, artists, and scholars rather than warriors. They immerse themselves in the teachings of those who came before them, perceiving history not as a linear chronology of events but as a space inhabited by both the living and the dead. To the Terran outsider, Vasudan society appears convoluted and ritualistic. The Vasudans themselves may seem arrogant, treacherous, and superstitious. On the other hand, Vasudans tend to view Terrans as aggressive, paranoid, and stupid. Thirty years of peaceful interaction between Terrans and Vasudans has helped to deconstruct these stereotypes.
Vasudan society is complex and filled with peril for the outsider ignorant of their culture. Vasudans have a range of social tests and protocols, such as The Conversation. A Terran mishandling of The Conversation is presumed to be one of the major causes of the 14-Year War. Prior to the ascension of Khonsu II, The Vasudan government was parliamentary in nature, though it was technically presided over by the Imperial family, in a dynasty that had endured for over ten thousand years, and the Ambassadors, who are quasi-royal go-betweens for the Parliament and the Imperium. This parliament was notorious for its Byzantine treachery, corruption and arrogance.
The crowning achievement of the Vasudan civilization is its language. For the average Terran, the formalities governing its usage are beyond comprehension. Syntax and vocabulary are dictated by such factors as the speaker's age, rank, and caste, the time of day and the phase of the Vasudan calendar, and the relative spatial position of the speaker to the Emperor. This is further compounded by the existence of several alphabets, dozens of verb tenses, and thousands of dialects. A translation device is standard on all GTVA communications systems, enabling Terrans and Vasudans to mutually understand each other.
Vasudan space exploration has been driven primarily by the need to find planets capable of sustaining their species. During the Great War, Vasudan technology was approximately on par with that of the Terrans, though it remains unclear whether this was the result of independent development, or theft of advanced technology by one or both parties. As the military and social links between the two races became stronger following the war, technological development homogenized due to the free exchange of technology and information promoted by BETAC. Despite this, Vasudan technology remains superior in some areas, such as reactor development. They also have quirks which promote technological development along specific lines, such as the Mekhu HL-7, a Vasudan varient of a terran weapon, altered to increase the range and firing rate, though at the cost of sheer hitting power.
Because the Vasudan homeworld was primarily desert, the Terrans used Egyptian names to designate Vasudan warships during the Terran-Vasudan War and the Great War. After the defeat of the Shivans, the Vasudans insisted on maintaining this convention. The Emperor strongly identified with the history of Ancient Egypt, particularly the longevity of its civilization. Following their Emperor's example, Vasudans will take on what they call a Terran name from the myths and history of ancient Egypt.