THE VARIAS SOLAR SYSTEM IN THE DYURAN GALAXY
THE PLANET NOLAOS
Nolaos is one of the major planets of the Varias solar system and is the homeland of the Nontu and Vertu peoples. The planet has a synchronous rotation: its periods of rotation and revolution are the same, which means that one hemisphere of Krenus is always exposed to the light of Varias and the other is always in shadow, illuminated by the reflected light of the Moon of Klastra.
The dark side of Nolaos is inhabited by the Nontu, a tenacious primordial people, extremely powerful physically, who follow the ruthless laws of the Motherless. Depending on the lands they colonized, the Nontu race became differentiated over the millennia into the Peoples of the Rivers, the Volcanoes, the Marshes and the Drylands. They live the mission of protecting their land according to the Creed of Klastra. Instead, the part always exposed to the light of Varias, the other hemisphere of Nolaos, is inhabited by a mysterious and very advanced people, the Vertu, who – it is told – are an ancient albino variant of the Nontu. This people lives in symbiosis with the Yanima, spectacular marsupial creatures with a frail body and extraordinary minds. Another strange ethnic group of slaves helps them with their tasks: the Erratics, who are a cross-breed of Nontu and Vertu.
Arriving out of sidereal space, the Albedon Comet approaches the planet in cycles, influencing the latter’s existence in a mysterious manner.
THE PLANET KRENUS
Krenus is the furthermost planet of the Varias solar system and its morphological and climatic conditions are hostile to most living species. The Albedon comet also cyclically intersects its orbit, dropping heavy rain onto its surface and sometimes devastating meteorites of radioactive Albedonite.
The planet was inhabited since ancient times by the Synean people, a very ancient and very evolved species, today extinct. Their advanced technological development, before the holocaust, depended almost entirely on Keitu, a fluid mineral energy very widespread on the planet which is extracted from a raw material deposited in various physical/chemical forms: liquid, gaseous and crystallized.
By mining, storing and processing Keitu, the Syneans deliberately created an artificial species that reproduces by mitosis and is still alive today: the Keituniani, put together and programmed for these purposes. One of the main properties of Keitu is actually essential to the life on the planet: if used appropriately it generates sufficient energy in the force fields that must cyclically protect its inhabitants from the rain of radioactive meteorites which the comet Albedon rains down on the surface of Krenus during its ultra-millennial passage.
THE ALBEDON COMET
Even if far apart, both Nolaos and Krenus share the heavenly orbit of a mysterious and fearsome comet: Albedon, whose ultra-millennial journey skims first one then the other planet with quite different results. In particular, on Krenus, the arrival of the comet is accompanied by a meteorite shower which sprinkles the land and the waters with the radioactive mineral they are composed of: Albedonite.
THE “NATIVE” PEOPLES OF KRENUS
An ancient species, inscrutable, and by now extinct, who managed during their evolution – thanks to Keitu and high technological development – to maintain control over the harmful effects of the meteorite shower thanks to special force fields. As a part of this task of protection and development they built stunning fortified cities, in particular A1, the capital of one of the central regions of Krenus. Even if they have still not fully understood its operation, both the Nontu and the Vertu, ever since they landed on Krenus, have studied the secrets of Synean technology so as to use its artefacts and practices, which ended up playing a key role in the survival and evolution of both colonizing races.
This is an artificial species created by the Syneans to extract and process Keitu, which reproduces by mitosis. Initially programmed exclusively for mining operations, the Vertu managed to reprogram them for other tasks, creating the Keitunian R. In appearance weak and defenceless, they are actually quite the opposite: even if slow moving, they have a much longer life span than that of the Nontu and the Vertu.
THE COLONIZATION OF KRENUS
It was the year zero when an explosion ripped through the centre of Krenus, more precisely, the Tharas region. A large mass of debris from the Albedon comet – once again close to Krenus – had plummeted to the ground, splitting into two.
A meagre group of beings, shabby and bewildered, almost miraculously emerged unscathed. These were Vertu and their Yanima, some Nontu and some Erratics, more or less in equal number. Legend also tells of the presence within the small group of some Motherless who were to disappear immediately after the landing on Krenus, but nobody has ever found evidence of their presence. Unfortunately, many of the Yanima died during or immediately after the impact, leaving their Vertu companions stunned and disconcerted.
The impact created an enormous crater and triggered the automatic force fields of A1, still active thanks to maintenance by the Keituniani programmed for this task since Synean times.
What remained of the Synean structures on the surface in the impact area, including a large Keitu mine, was damaged, and many Keituniani who were still living in the mine were killed or displaced.
The Nontu and the Vertu, who during their extraordinary journey on the Albedon comet had undergone biological and genetic mutations, reacted in different ways to the planet and its elements, in particular to the Albedonite, and felt its effects on their bodies, even if in the beginning they did not understand the cause.
For example, both peoples became aware of an acceleration in their growth with an increase in and gradual strengthening of their physical and intellectual abilities, despite some substantial disparities.
As a consequence of such mutations, over time the Nontu developed an affinity with Keitu which let them absorb into their bodies the natural elements of the environment surrounding them; this allowed them to boost or influence elements such as fire or lava.
The Vertu – who already had a superior intellectual capacity – saw an increase in their mental and telepathic powers; and finally, in close contact with the Synean technology, discovered that they had a close affinity with it, succeeding not only in using it, but also adapting it to their own ends.
Both peoples, thus mutated (or undergoing mutation), headed for different regions of the planet, colonizing them depending on their needs and inclinations. Both factions, the Nontu and the Vertu, settled down and created their own realms, each in line with their beliefs.
A crucial role was allocated to the ranks of Albedonite hunters, tasked with retrieving the precious mineral. These were the Huntakhi for the Nontu and the Seekians for the Vertu who, although having the same assignment, followed very different rules of engagement and recruitment.
Cycles passed including periods of peace, during which the Nontu and the Vertu – each changing in their own way and building up various layers of their societies – lived peacefully despite some moments of tension. Until a fresh disaster struck: a strange disease that began to attack the bodies of both peoples.
The cause was none other than the Albedonite which, after accumulating in their bodies in excess, became lethal. A cure was rediscovered that dated back to Synean times but had never been perfected: a sort of vaccine whose distillation was carried out starting from the radioactive mineral itself.
But the Albedonite, used for millennia, was growing increasingly scarce on Krenus, and inevitably the two peoples began to enter into conflict, which wound up – after a particularly bloody episode – in the Albedon Wars, which are still in progress, with Keitu becoming a de facto currency all over the planet.
Keitu is an element with many distinctive features found on the planet Krenus, mostly in the form of cyan- and magenta-coloured crystals and, more rarely, also in a liquid state.
Through a process of extraction and refining, the Keitu crystals are artificially synthesized into a liquid, the state in which it produces its highest power output.
The Vertu discovered the characteristics and properties of Keitu in scientific texts written by the Syneans found in their laboratories while exploring the planet.
Following this discovery, the Vertu, like their predecessors, concentrated on using and developing technology around this element.
Keitu was described in these documents as a contaminating element: it appears that all living beings on Krenus carry some percentage of Keitu in their blood.
This contamination is harmless provided the level of Keitu in the blood remains minimal. However, a few decades before their disappearance, some Synean scientists discovered a dangerous reaction of Keitu when exposed to radiation emitted by Albedonite, activated by the passage of the Albedon comet.
According to these studies, the interaction between Keitu and Albedonite causes an acceleration of the absorption of Keitu by living beings and the activation of mutagenic properties latent in Keitu itself in the host body. The substance, if stimulated, enables the channelling of an external element or radiation into the organism. Vertu scientists believe that this is why their population can now manipulate celestial radiations, and the Nontu can do the same with the natural elements.
They are also studying the hypothesis that the current symptoms of distress exhibited by the population are caused by an excessive absorption of Keitu. It seems that some Synean studies prompted this thesis.
A rapid and excessive absorption of Keitu would be the main cause of the extinction of the Syneans on Krenus, as well as the symptoms that have begun to emerge in the Vertu and Nontu recently.
On their journey through the cosmos, the asteroids always land on the planet of Krenus, but only rarely do they cause a certain degree of damage.
During the most prosperous period of the Synean civilization, astronomers suspected that the rain of meteorites became radioactive during the passage of the Albedon comet. The ancient inhabitants of Krenus had noticed that the Albedonite already deposited on the planet would emit a strange green glow at that time.
Alarmed by this same fact, the Vertu scientists obtained some interesting information from documents found among the remains of an old Synean laboratory. This led to the discovery that exposure to Albedonite radiation influenced the behaviour of Keitu inside their bodies.
Initially, both the Nontu and the Vertu were enthusiastic about this reaction. The former saw their ability to manipulate the elements grow rapidly; the latter the channelling of radiations coming from the celestial bodies.
Soon however, some members of both factions showed strong signs of malaise and, with these, came the first deaths among the population. The Nontu and Vertu governments thus decided to join forces to investigate this disturbing phenomenon.
From joint research by the two factions, it emerged that during the previous passage of the Albedon comet, the Syneans had been affected by a strange epidemic; too late, their scientists realized that it was their bodies reacting to the excessive absorption of Keitu caused by radiation from Albedonite that had led to cellular suffocation in the host.
Armed with this information, the Nontu and Vertu governments sent out scores of troops to scour the Synean ruins in search of further confirmation of the facts discovered. They found studies on a possible cure for the contamination, discovered by the previous inhabitants of the planet.
This cure, which the new inhabitants of Krenus made their own, consists in exposing the contaminated individual to a core of concentrated Albedonite which causes a magnetic reaction with the Keitu present in the organism and steers it all to the area exposed to the radiation. In this way, the Keitu condensate can be surgically removed, granting many months of new life to the host. However, this also significantly decreases the individual’s ability to channel the elements or celestial radiation.
Accordingly, both factions founded special Albedonite Hunter corps: Jarnis founded the Huntakhi, while Jara set up the Seekians. Their mission is to explore Krenus in search of the Albedonite necessary for their faction to treat victims of contagion.
Close exposure to radiation confers prodigious powers on the Albedonite hunters, which make them extraordinary fighters, able to tackle the many hidden dangers lurking in the wildest areas of the planet, and pushing them to venture beyond the boundaries of hitherto unexplored areas.
However, continuous exposure to Albedonite forces them to periodically submit to a purification process which saves their life but at the same time deprives them of the abilities acquired thanks to the mutation.