BY ASSISTANT EDITOR PAYPABAK WRITER
During my research on various vendors of airships/spaceships, I stumbled across Starbase Alpha, which is a collection of three sims with fifteen developed locations spread across two of three sims, with the other sim devoted to space. So I took a break from “shopping,” even though you can find a variety of cool stores at Port Clarke, to explore the regions. I found the sim devoted to space travel odd in that they have erected panels of outer space textures that more often than not got in my way than helped me imagine myself in space. I realize for lower levels of a sim, the Midnight setting isn’t enough, but going higher is the solution. For my brief journey, with rezzed spacecraft, the large panels acted more like barriers (see thumbnail at left) rather than workable backdrops, but maybe with practice, the regulars who use this sim have a way to deal with that. The land-bound port and surrounding regions are well done for handling role play scenarios.
Six factions have been developed that encourage players to go beyond Star Wars/Star Trek/Battlestar Galactica/Avatar and dig into free-form RP:
Hand of Seht (Antagonist Faction)
This radicalized splinter faction of the Gneru Tribes are currently in control of one of the six Gneru Arks, ‘cleanse’ Gneru bioships. Seeking to bring about the revival of the bio-entity known as ‘Seht’, they hold the Reynah tribe hostage and commit various dispicable acts to further their goals and provide a smokescreen to their true intents.
The Hand of Seht are composed almost entirely of gneru and hired mercenaries.
Helios (Antagonist Faction)
“It is Holy to make cyborgs,” this radical cult militia extols. Believing the enhancement of the sentient races to be a divine commandment from God, and believing the proper way to achieve that is through technology, Helios hold that biotechnology to be a heresy. Helios will steal military equipment, conduct horrific experiments, and kill innocent bystanders in an effort to advance their cause.
Helios is composed of a 50-50 mix of humans and kalimshari, with extremely high cyberization percentages, often total-body-replacement cyborgs. All piloted Helios vehicles or bodies have a face.
The Qel’haraii are a purple-skinned, primarily mono-sexed sub-species derived from human DNA. They are currently transitioning from a primarily feudal government to a primarily democratic one, and are on good terms with the neighboring Core Worlds Coalition. Qel’haraii have extremely high natural endurance due to their partially inorganic biochemistry, but are one of the least technologically advanced civilizations. In a narrative context, the Qel’haraii represent a subversion of the stereotypical “space babe” race, and an exploration of sex and gender roles and society.
As the Imperial Republic of Qel is situated on the Qel homeworld, it contains mostly pure Qel’haraii. However, a large number of intermixed Qel variants are found scattered throughout the Core Worlds Coalition in many phenotypes.
The Emperor of the Kalimshari Empire has jurisdiction over 54 worlds inhabited by the ambitious Kalimshari. The Kalimshari value individualism and self-achievement, and most fear being defeated by their own hubris. The culture is highly competitive, and competitions of all kinds are held frequently in order to challenge Kalimshari and promote the concept of self development. This extends to the nobility, who trade titles of various levels in the feudal order, thus ensuring that only those with the means and ambition can become aristocrats, and also ensuring that most aristocrats are business owners.
The Kalimshari Empire is composed mostly of Kalimshari, a humanoid race with charcoal black skin and pointed ears, although intermixing with other conquered areas has caused some variety to crop up.
Core Worlds Coalition
The Core Worlds Coalition is known space’s largest super-power. A burgeoning collection of 108 colonized worlds, with 87 billion citizens, the Coalition is a welfare capitalist state of immense size and power. Its’ sprawling military-industrial complex encompasses billions of employees, although nearly all manual labor is performed by machines, keeping the nation awash with cheap consumer goods. The Coalition approaches government administration, like many things, as a science. The bulk of the Coalition’s population are centered on the ‘core’ urban worlds, whose towering arcologies, and manicured suburbs, are found by some to be stifling.
The Core Worlds Coalition is composed primarily of genetically engineered and selected humans of varying cyberization percentages, with a much smaller contingent of gneru, qel’haraii, and kalimshari citizens.
A massive interstellar hypercorporation, and the largest arms dealer in known space, Ifritian Industries split early from humanity — prior, even, to the founding of the Core Worlds Coalition. The Ifritians favour cheap mass production of overbearing weaponry of all kinds, often wrapped in grey metal alloys and sprinkled with warm orange highlights. Ifritian culture involves 1024bpm speedcore, partying in buildings as they’re being demolished, and explosions. Most factions buy at least some weaponry from the Ifritians.
Ifritian employees are primarily humans with middling to high cyberization percentages, although other races also work for the Ifritians.
You can rez a ship under 31 prims in size and it will remain in the sim until you stand up … good for dogfights, not so good if you decide to RP inside your ship unless someone stays seated. For larger ships, there’s a fee for getting permission to rez without fear of Autoreturn for “as little as $2.40 USD per month.” Other rental opportunities are also available. Read more about it on their Website and check out the Wiki for story lines and other details.