“Once, alone...forevermore, together...”
Rakali tub-Denumn, 1st Chairman of the Simultaneity
The Simultaneity is a multi-species civilisation located in the Dimstar Outbacks of the Mirus Galaxy, dominated primarily by its founders, the Zamuth. It is most notable for the presence of the synchronet, a vast psychometric network connecting each individual's thoughts, though allowing some degree of privacy and not infringing on independent thought of its dominant species- at least not officially. A direct cyberdemocracy, rulership is truly controlled by a network of technicians and scientists responsible for maintaining and upgrading the machinery used to sustain the all-consuming network. The present official head of state is Chairman Tharak rol-Ranis. A population of an estimated 258 billion individuals are registered users, with billions more husks and unregistered members of the population also present (including non-registered users it approaches 288 billion, and including husks as well, around 311 billion). It is documented that 439 systems fall under its jurisdiction, a number that appears to increasing at an exponential rate.
In terms of foreign policy, the Simultaneity is an expansionist and opportunistic entity, having subjugated several independent polities in wars of conquest and retaliation. While these states are officially maintained as dominions known as Cortices, they are in reality undergoing intense integration into the Simultaneity. The organisation also employs various inhumane methods in its activities, and is suspected to have a great deal more influence over the minds of its members than it officially proclaims.
The beginning of the Simultaneity revolves around the creation of the synchronet. Developed upon a divided Tuolar, the network began as a revolutionary social media platform. Initially viewed with scepticism, it moved on to take the world by storm due to its innovative nature. It would, however, be some time before the entirety of the Zamuth race entrusted their minds to such a network. Over time, the synchronet became more and more essential, eventually enabling a kind of global unification and the formation of the Simultaneity as a universal Zamuth society under the reign of Chairman Rakali tub-Denumn.
Early Stellar EraEdit
The Simultaneity detected the existence of alien civilisations years before it launched any interstellar missions of its own. It earliest space exploration efforts were interplanetary in scope, aiming to serve as the test bed for the viability of manned and remote flights, and to allow for exploitation of local planetary bodies. There were few concerns about the alteration of existing environments, with the general consensus apathetic to preserving distant worlds as it was.
The Simultaneity’s first interstellar flight carried with it a message of peace. Broadcast in such an early era, it lacked the infamous mannerisms of modern Zamuth communications, and was much more comprehensive and easier to understand for the most part. This led to contact with the Bhakuul stellar polity, the Assembly of Worlds, as well as the more reclusive and enigmatic Zalkyuz Autarchy, a xenophobic isolationist state.
Initial colonisation efforts proved relatively successful, with the Simultaneity adopting a relatively gradual degree of expansion, focusing on making the most of what worlds it did possess rather than over-reaching at first. Soon, however, the Simultaneity was largely boxed in between its neighbours, with many seemingly valuable worlds snatched up by the Bhakuul especially. Over the course of several years, this led to growing ire and resentments amongst the Simultaneous population, and the reigning Chairman- influenced by a fledgling form of the Administration- posed the question of war to the public. The vote was held, and the population was in favour.
Bhakuul Integration WarEdit
The Bhakuul Integration War is indisputably a conflict of aggression, instigated by the Simultaneity over territorial concerns. The original strategy proposed by the Simultaneous Rectification Net was a rapid strike to assume control of their desired worlds, followed by a definitive strike against other Bhakuul planets and the development of formidable defences to repel the enemy, eventually concluding with a Bhakuul capitulation and the acquisition of their desired territory. The Simultaneity was new to the concept of interstellar warfare, but fortunately for them, so was the Assembly of Worlds.
The Bhakuul, blindsided by the sudden declaration of war, nonetheless had prepared in part of the possibility, and launched a surprisingly effective first strike while the Simultaneity readied its fleets. Having prepared for an offensive, the Simulatenity had not seen defences as important up to this point- official relations with the Assembly were relatively cordial right up to the declaration of war. The swifter nature of Bhakuul ships allowed them to rapidly dominate the outer systems of the Simultaneity. Eventually, however, rectifiers organised a defensive reclamation force, and superior firepower and defensive capabilities proved enough to overcome the Bhakuul’s fighter flotillas and enhanced mobility.
Eager for vengeance, the public pushed for harsher conditions in the surrender. The Administration was emboldened by the success of its reclamation, and the further success of its offensive efforts. Compared to Simultaneity worlds, the Bhakuul outer colonies had minimal infrastructure, and their fleets were badly damaged from committing heavily to their own aggressive strategy. On the ground, however, Bhakuul proved an enormous threat, natural flight making them deadly troops against the Zamuth soldiers that attacked them. Despite this, they could not resist the Simultaneity’s advance. The decision was made to assault their home planet itself, and force total surrender. The Battle of Bhaku was incredibly fierce, but the Simultaneity was successful, forcing surrender. The Bhakuul Cortex was created, and Simultaneity scientists faced the challenge of integrating non-Zamuth minds into the synchronet. It took several years, but in time, true integration began to become possible.
While initially disastrous, the Bhakti Integration War was a victory for the Sinultaneity, and taught the organisation several important lessons. Technologies were in development to make up for their poor infantry performance, greater defences were constructed around their border worlds, and never again would the Simultaneity declare war prior to commencing its initial offensive.
Zalkyuz Integration WarEdit
The Zalkyuz Autarchy was not idle during the Bhakuul Integration War. They took note of the relentless tactics employed by the Simultaneity, and knew that they were likely soon to follow. Already formidable, they increased their defences significantly, hoping to prevent the Simultaneity from attempting any kind of incursion. For a few years, little happened outside of the Simultaneity’s own borders. The reason for this was readily apparent- they were still struggling to subjugate the Bhakuul.
The idea of total integration at first was controversial, hence the formation of the Bhakuul Cortex to oversee a more gradual and regulated integrated process. However, efforts proved very difficult. Zamuth struggled to understand the Bhakuul mentality. This had proven an issue in their war, but even more so now that they ruled over a massive Bhakuul population. Initially, major restrictions were enforced on reproduction to ensure that the Bhakuul would never be able to outnumber the Zamuth. Gradually, dissent was reduced- mainly through forceful efforts, but contributed to by growing integration rates and new developments in psychometrics- but a significant military force was still required to prevent insurgencies.
There was, however, a major benefit- the combination of Bhakuul and Zamuth technical knowledge allowed for many new possibilities, and greatly accelerated research. Cytokinetics was further developed, allowing for a vast array of new and more effective weapons. A technological advantage gave the Administration confidence in its efforts do manipulate public opinion towards war against the Zalkyuz. This is also the time of the first routers, and capital punishment was revised to reflect this new possibility. Some were disconcerted at first, but it would grow to be a common occurrence.
In the end, the isolation of the Zalkyuz proved their undoing. Unwilling to even conduct trade with foreign powers, their technology fell quickly behind that of the Simultaneity. What would have been a colossal struggle years ago was nothing less than a slaughter when the Zalkyuz Integration War began. A massive offensive punctured their outer defences, and attacks rapidly began. The main issue was securing the Zalkyuz core worlds, as these planets were largely oceanic in nature, or had mostly underwater infrastructure. The Zamuth had severely neglected their aquatic capabilities, and even their advanced technology would have trouble against a civilisation that had spent most of its history in a marine environment.
However, the Zalkyuz Autarchy, seeing the rapid advance, and with few recourses to draw upon, made the monument decision to attempt self-destruction with nuclear weapons, and so deprive the Simultaneity of its members and its resources. This effort was successful, leaving less than a billion Zalkyuz alive in its wake, and destroying most of their technological base. To this date, the Zalkyuz Cortex is the only dominion to have encouraged reproduction among its primary species.
Although deprived of many, the Zalkyuz Integration War was still a success for the Simultaneity.
Uuzid Integration WarEdit
Assimilation of the Zalkyuz proved difficult. While the species did not offer substantial resistance- it did not have the numbers left to do so- integration rates were initially abysmal, and the hazardous environments left behind by nuclear fallout only worsened the situation. Despite this, those who did integrate proved relatively valuable, and some Zamuth saw a kind of physiological kinship with their fellow nautiloids.
This also led to an increase in anti-expansionist sentiment. Concerned, the Administration began research into further psychometric influencing techniques. This led to the capability to engaged in so-called “enhanced rehabilitation”- effectively a form of brainwashing that involved permanent alterations to the mind through the synchronet. It was used sparingly and secretly only. However, it maintained enough expansionists in the population that the Simultaneity could proceed into its next conquest.
Eurayle, a resource-rich but nigh-hellish landscape, was home to a race known as the Uuzids, who were locked into conflict against local wildlife even in their modern age. They were yet to develop space travel due to their world’s high gravity and thick atmosphere. It was seen as a chance for an easy conquest and a valuable integration. The Simultaneity attacked, securing space superiority and launching a massive ground assault.
What followed was a years-long struggle, as the Uuzids simply refused to give up. Their immense bulk made them terrifying on the battlefield, and the Simultaneity was reluctant to commence substantial bombardments and risk the extinction of their targets. Uuzids were proven to use nerve nets, just like Zamuth, so were given considerable respect despite their low cognitive intelligence. In the end, after a colossal slog, the Uuzid Cortex was formed, and the species integrated into the Simultaneity.
While an eventual success, the Uuzid Integration War proved the final straw for anti-expansionists, and many were content with the Simultaneity’s position. Nonetheless, research was made into new military technologies.
Time of TranquilityEdit
With no new conquests planned, the Simultaneity entered a period of relative peace. By now, the Bhakuul Cortex was integrating exceptionally well, though newer dominions were struggling to have similar success. The use of enhanced rehabilitation- publicly introduced as a measure to suppress Uuzid and Zalkyuz dissent- allowed for some progress.
Within this time, two new technologies of incredible importance were developed. The first of these was husks. Originally designed for industrial use, the military applications and political statement made by the technology made it incredibly promising for more aggressive uses. Husking would soon replace what capital punishment remained, and was also often done to bodies killed but left in good condition from other causes. Later, even bodies killed by age or illness could be husked.
The second notable technology developed was the concept of mongrels. This hybrid monsters were at first used for terraforming and in the Zalkyuz Cortex’s restoration efforts. However, the military applications were too effective to ignore. As a result of both of these technologies, the Simultaneity could now fight ground wars without needing to risk lives.
New neighbours had emerged for the polity- namely the Chosulk Cooperative and the Queneth-ruled Outer Systems Alliance. The Administration saw these powers as vulnerable, but public opinion did not allow for an assault. However, it would turn out that the enemy would this time be the aggressor.
Chosulk Retaliation WarEdit
The Chosulk Cooperative was, by all accounts, an immensely fractured society, divided into five independent nations with their own agendas and colonies. They presented an image of unity to foreign powers, but infighting was common within, not helped by the aggressive and often sadistic nature of the Chosulk species. Despite this, having seen the Simultaneity’s conquests, they came to the conclusion that a pre-emptive strike would be necessary to deter their own annexation in the next few years.
Their initial assault came without a formal declaration of war- a trick used also by the Simultaneity- and was devastating. However, their efforts at any follow-up failed utterly, and the Simultaneity now had a fully justified war. The Chosulk attack proved to the population that trusting those whose thoughts were unknown was a recipe for betrayal and disaster. And indeed, disaster proved an apt description of the Chosulk war effort.
The Chosulk Retaliation War was a swift and decisive effort. The Chosulks, having studied the Bhakuul Integration War, believed that their surface defences- designed due to the wars between Chosulk powers- would repel any Simultaneous forces. The use of mongrels and husks, however, allowed for a much better series of surface engagements than had been predicted for the Simultaneity.
By the end of the conflict, the Chosulk Cortex was formed, though resistance remained and integration was not as rapid as it had been for the Uuzids.
Queneth Integration WarEdit
The Outer Systems Alliance was a minor power compared to the Simultaneity, and believed in diplomatic negotiations. It was fully aware of its weakness, but as a democracy, the population refused to concede to a likely unbalanced alliance to any major power. Further, the Chosulks were responsible for their own war, and they- more attuned to public perception in the Simultaneity, or so they thought- believed that the growing stellar polity did not wish to expand to their territory, and would not attack unless provoked.
They were mistaken.
The Simultaneity was once more emboldened, and the Administration used reports of increased military buildup to incite paranoia that the aliens would strike them as the Chosulks had. Thus, they launched their own pre-emptive strike, rapidly dominating the Queneth and destroying the Outer Systems Alliance. The Queneth Cortex was formed, though resistance remains persistent to this day.
The Simultaneity's direct holdings are not divided into any territories or states. However, there is a form of subdivision at work. Integrated worlds are typically assigned to a Cortex, with one Cortex per integrated species. These are effectively subjects of the Simultaneity proper, and can be considered more equivalent to special territories than even true dominions, as the objective of each Cortex is to gradually integrate the population.
Ostensibly, the Simultaneity is a direct cyberdemocracy. Members place a vote at any time, resulting in this being recorded and added to a sum calculation. The most popular candidate is placed in the position of Chairman. This system is simple, but has several hidden mechanisms. The most notable of these is the fact that the Chairman's role is largely ceremonial. Most matters of any political importance are voted upon by the general public, but even they do not have full control. Rather, a cabal of high-ranking technicians and researchers known as the Administration influences matters towards its own ends. The Administration is officially simply responsible for maintaining the labyrinthine network of machinery used to operate the synchronet, but in reality they have long used their unique expertise in the field of psychometrics to secretly maintain control of the Simultaneity. As such, though this is not known to the general public or foreign nations, the Simultaneity is truly a technocratic oligarchic cryptocracy. It is worth noting that despite its power, the Administration is still bound to a degree by the will of the people, and does not have absolute control, nor does it in of itself lack infighting.
Each Cortex is governed by an individual termed a Propagator, who does their best to integrate the population under their command gradually but by any means necessary. Some Cortexes, such as the Bhakuul Cortex, have relatively high degrees of freedom. Others, such as the Queneth Cortex, are held in outright martial law to maintain security while proper integration takes hold.
The vast majority of energy within the Simultaneity is generated through nuclear fusion and anti-matter reactors. While relatively basic, these methods of power supply are generally quite effective for the polity. Anti-matter reactors have incredible destructive potential, but are kept generally well-maintained and have numerous redundant safety mechanisms. Experimental micro-singularity engines have been developed, but are incredibly inefficient and expensive to maintain.
Transportation and CommunicationEdit
The Simultaneity employs a variation of warp drive to engage in warp travel. This is not especially fast nor especially difficult to detect. For travel upon the same world, various aerial, subterranean, terrestrial and marine vehicles and transport networks exist. Teleportation remains impossible, but remote transfer of consciousness does not. The polity is capable of producing stable micro-singularities, which are used mainly for superluminal communication purposes, and to support the synchronet, through which almost all communication occurs in some capacity.
A vast network connecting the mind of every registered user, the synchronet is nothing less than the foundation of the Simultaneity. Countless machines combined software and wetware to make its psychometric link possible. The synchronet is a portmanteau of "synchronised" and "network". The vast, vast majority of the Simultaneity's population is connected to it in some capacity, and even if limited in the Cortexes, it is still omnipresent through all of its worlds. It permits a form of consensual technological telepathy, allowing for such a degree of interconnectivity that many struggle to even imagine what it is like to know only one's own thoughts, or to not know another's thoughts. The existence of the synchronet creates a deeper sense of empathy among users, but stymies sympathy for those outside of its reach, as most Simultaneous personnel simply cannot empathise with someone they cannot think like.
While the synchronet is largely secure from external attack due to an incredibly complex security system designed to at least contain hostile incursions, its ubiquity is a source of concern, as without it, the Simultaneity would cease to function effectively. Its security mechanisms are also well-known to high-ranking technicians and so-called influencers, who are able to effectively access the minds of any connected user should they so wish, though doing so is not commonly done. One of the darker aspects of the synchronet is the use presence of "routers"- dissidents who have had their minds rendered into a catatonic state to perform computation for the synchronet.
In addition to direct exchange in thoughts and emotions, the synchronet also allows for simultaneous consciousness. Multiple individuals can directly integrate their experiences together to create a temporary hybrid individual. These amgalamated minds can be used for a variety of purposes and are a common sight in Simultaneous industry and research.
Mindware is a form of malware that exists within the synchronet, and has a terrifying range of applications. It can be used by criminals or the Simultaneity proper to extract encoded information, input new data, or even whole entire brains ransom in some circumstances. Many defences exist against it, but it still remains a notable threat for the unwary and less protected. It is also capable of being weaponised against foreign wetware, though such a capability is relatively limited.
Husks are living organisms- usually but not always intelligent- with their nervous systems extracted and replaced with wetware that allows for remote control of the body through the synchronet or a variation thereof. Those who control husks in a professional capacity are termed minders. Husking (the process of becoming a husk) is the equivalent of capital punishment within the Simultaneity, as husks have many scientific, industrial, and military applications. Auto-husks are a specific variation of husk operated by artificial intelligence, rather than by a living minder. These are commonly encountered in industrial settings.
Mongrels are organisms designed to operate on their own intellect, without the need for direct mental control. They are frequently used as a supplement for husks, or for situations where husks are ineffective. While they are technically most common for terraforming and research purposes, they are most notorious for being used in a military capacity.
Cytokinetics is a field of study concerned with producing corpuscules of kinetic energy. Effectively, it allows for the creation of projectiles and beams of pure force, which has numerous industrial and military applications.
Society and CultureEdit
Due to the nature of the synchronet and its omnipresence in the Simultaneity, some civilisations assume the polity equivalent to a mechanised hive mind. This is not the case, and the vast majority of true individuals within the Simultaneity have a very high degree of apparent freedom. This is, however, mitigated by a number of often unofficial or classified hindrances to liberty and freedom of thought.
Simultaneous citizens are generally referred to as users, especially within the context of the Synchronet. Less integrated members are referred to as partial users, and the unintegrated are not considered members whatsoever- the umbrella term "member" is used to refer to all individuals within the Simultaneity that possess free will (thus excluding husks, which are considered property).
The use of the synchronet for communication has led to the development of Thoughtspeak, a language involving primarily direct mental exchange of ideas, concepts, emotions and experiences. As such, verbal speech is largely vestigial in the Simultaneity. Another impact of the synchronet is the use of synchronet identification numbers (SINs) as equivalents to real names. Most in fact consider this number their true name, as it cannot be changed without exceptional circumstances, while usernames and official names can be adjusted fairly easily if so desired.
Most Simultaneous worlds are heavily urbanised, though lesser colonies used for industry generally contain relatively few residences. Automation is common, with use of husks also prevalent. Individuals are afforded the right to vote, the right to free speech, the right of religion and ideology, and even the right to privacy- though, in reality, this if secretly circumvented in many cases. Privacy, however, is much less important than in many societies. People commonly share thoughts and experiences directly with one another, and those deemed reclusive are often considered very suspicious. While individuals are permitted to keep secret, outright lies about their preferences and ideals are considered serious insults in most instances. The synchronet as a whole is also relatively unrestricted for the majority of full users.
While a variety of species exist within the Simultaneity, the Zamuth are by far the most common. Bhakuul and Uuzids are also relatively commonly encountered as fully integrated members of the Simultaneity proper. Though these individuals are afforded full rights, Zamuth are still considered their intellectual superiors.
In terms of crime and punishment, most individuals at first have their synchronet privileges reduced or revoked. In more extreme cases, they will be imprisoned. Capital punishment is permitted within the Simultaneity, and typically takes the form of the suspect being husked or routed.
The presence of the synchronet has had a profound impact on the types of media present within the Simultaneity. While media within the organisation is largely unrestricted officially, there are several unofficial but present restrictions in reality. One of the most notable is the altering or suppression of news. Another is the rejection of most foreign media for broadcast within the Simultaneity. Cortex media is also very heavily moderated to minimise dissent. While some Simultaneous media is exported, the fact that most of it depends upon the synchronet means that many such exports are highly inferior and must be reworked entirely. Several unique genres are only possible with the synchronet or an equivalent, and these dominate the media landscape of the Simultaneity.
Viacarious drama (VD) is roughly equivalent to a television series, typically following an episodic format and involving multiple arcs. These experiences effectively place the viewer in the direct position of a fictional character, able to experience their sensations and, to a degree, thoughts. This is differentiated from any kind of gaming experience by the viewer's lack of agency- they are an observer, not a participant, and cannot control their character's actions. Those who act out these experiences are known as "thought actors", and are often regarded as celebrities amongst the general population. There are many genres of vicarious drama.
One of the most common is reality VD, roughly equivalent to reality TV, that follows the (supposedly) real dramas of individuals either living their lives or taking part in contests. Editing is used to conceal certain information in many cases, which has led to numerous controversies as to how scripted or spontaneous the experiences truly are.
Perspective drama is a specific genre of VD. In perspective drama, the story presents the exact same situation from multiple different perspectives, with each "episode" following a separate perspective. These are generally considered artsy, but many can involve relatively simple plots. Mystery is a popular focus in this genre, and generally the episodes can be viewed in any order.
Life stories are VDs that follow a specific individual's lifelong journey, each episode serving as a snippet of their life. These are also often considered artsy and pretentious, as many contain degrees of social commentary. A related genre is the controversial but highly popular historical recreation, which tries to portray history directly, and is often criticised for being inaccurate to reality. Finally, there is cinematic vicarious drama, which is effectively the VD variant of a movie.
Mental reality (MR) is a variant of virtual reality game, but able to place the user directly within the gaming experience. Almost no other forms of gaming exist within the Simultaneity due to the dominance of MR.
Direct experience (DR) is a unique genre that used the synchronet to directly broadcast someone's stream of consciousness, offering an utterly unfiltered experience. Typically is unprofessional, but can be used for a wide variety of vicarious experiences, ranging from vicarious tripping to simple rambling.
Due to their position as dependent dominions of the Simultaneity, daily life within the confines of a Cortex is generally quite different to that of the Simultaneity proper. The most major difference is usually language- spoken language is typically present in a Cortex, especially in the more recently acquired ones.
Within the Bhakuul Cortex, life is not too dissimilar. Most personnel are integrated, and a high percentage are fully integrated. There is a relatively standard security presence. Bhakuul are dominant, though a good number of Zamuth are also present. Few special synchronet restrictions exist- the most major one is the inability for the partially integrated to vote, despite the high degree of cultural assimilation within the Cortex.
The Zalkyuz Cortex is the least populous and contains a large number of desolate landscapes. Many resources are used in restoration efforts to make these worlds less hazardous to inhabit. Zalkyuz are by far dominant, with Zamuth relying mainly on husks controlled from secure positions. Despite all of these factors, the Zalkyuz Cortex is not especially unruly, though numerous media restrictions are in place. While many are integrated, only around half are fully integrated, and very few Zalkyuz are permitted into the Simultaneity proper despite their integration at this stage.
The Uuzid Cortex is host to a considerable number of media restrictions. Around two percent of the local population is outright resistant to integration, through this has proven ineffective. Uuzids, despite all this, are very likely to be permitted full access to the Simultaneity once full users of the synchronet. As with the Zalkyuz Cortex, hazardous environments preclude the presence of Zamuth in person most of the time.
The Chosulk Cortex is dominated by Chosulks, but with a significant Zamuth and Bhakuul presence as well. Around six percent of the population is resistant, though suppression of dissent is proving gradually successful. Enhanced rehabilitation techniques- effectively, use of the synchronet for direct and permanent mind alteration- is openly permitted here to combat dissidents. Media is heavily restricted and moderated, as are synchronet permissions.
The Queneth Cortex is rather dangerous, due to its significant thirteen percent resistant population and the generally poor levels of integration. It is more similar to an occupied territory than a true dominion, with martial law in full effect and a large military presence on every world. Queneth still dominate demographically, but Zamuth, Bhakuul, and Uuzids are also present in notable numbers. As with the Chosulk Cortex, media and synchronet access are very heavily moderated and monitored.
“Belongs, to us...our innovation...our paradise...savour us...or begone eternal...”
The Zamuth are the creators of the Simultaneity, and thus its dominant species both in terms of population and status. They are terrestrial nautiloids best known for their nerve nets capable of multilateral thought processing, which has given them a reputation as intelligent- a reputation they deliberately cultivate within and without the borders of their civilisation. Their natural communications consists of complex sequences of pops and gasps, the result of their mouths lacking any kind of teeth. Their diet is omnivorous. Armoured shells protect most of their bodies, and they are known to have an excellent sense of hearing. However, their protective shells do serve as a detriment to mobility, giving Zamuth a notorious ponderous gait.
Zamuth are often noted to speak in a cryptic way, with many pauses between statements. Having been confined to the synchronet for over a century, their speech has degraded immensely due to relying instead on Thoughtspeak. As such, they often don't bother speaking concepts and considerations aloud, assuming that their imaginations and emotions are readily apparent to any individuals they come across. Speaking at all is thus a laborious and obsolete exercise to the typical Zamuth mind.
“There is nothing more joyful than to soar beyond the air!”
Hailing from the jungle world of Iosak, the Bhakuul are a race of dragonfly-like hemi-insects, with remarkable agility in the air. Their bodies can be divided easily into three major segments- the head, the thorax and the abdomen. The mouth of a Bhakuul supports its primarily carnivorous diet, and the species is known for its adept hunting capability, often swooping from above or simply catching prey in mid-air. This is possible due to their incredibly sensitive antennae, able to detect minute aerial vibrations and react swiftly and easily. Their eyes are also highly developed, with two compound eyes and six focused eyes allowing for excellent peripheral and forward vision. The thorax contains the majority of the major organ systems, with a close circulatory system and an internal skeleton including a backbone. Two pairs of wings are used for flight, and are capable of permitting hovering, swooping, and simple flying. There are also four legs and two arms, with each leg ending in a single segmented foot and each arm terminating in a webbed, three-pronged hand. A Bhakuul's abdomen contains its sexual organs- the species has two sexes but minimal external distinction- and the end of its digestive system. It is remarkably rigid and capable of being used to enhance in-flight stability.
Mentally, Bhakuul tend to be slow to process complex thoughts, but react swiftly to immediate stimuli. Their ancestors formed hunting flights to take on larger prey, which developed into a kind of sociality. However, Bhakuul are not especially social beyond this, and tend to prefer seclusion where possible. While not frequently violent against fellow members of their species, they do struggle to conceive of aliens as truly empathetic creatures, though their modern inclusion in the synchronet has adjusted this mentality.
Their former society, known as the Assembly of Worlds, was a small polity with an emphasis on peaceful exploration and trade. The Bhakuul had relatively few wars throughout their history, maintaining longstanding sporting rituals to resolve their differences. Conflict, when it did occur, was a ritualised affair, with regulations in place to minimise casulties. Their subjugation by the Simultaneity was a sudden and relentless assault, and a rapid victory for the fledgling expansionist power. While the Bhakuul Cortex remains as a prominent dominion of the Simultaneity, many Bhakuul are also found fully integrated on multi-racial colonies, and they are as a whole the most assimilated race under the rulership of the Zamuth.
“Ruination strikes. We spiral down. Around and around until we spiral up unknowing.”
The Zalkyuz are an aquatic species native to the oceanic world of Hekalykeia. They are known for their chambered shells, and can be compared to aquatic nautiloids. They are the smallest of the member species of the Simultaneous, and the least numerous due to their cultural inclinations.
The most prominent feature of any Zalkyuz is its armoured shell- on average, a mature Zalkyuz will possess one that extends vertically to about half a human’s height. This calcareous structure is divided into five segments, each of which connect in a spiralling pattern. The first segment, or the head, contains the eyes (pentachromatic, but designed more for peripheral vision than focusing) and the mouth. This is the most flexible segment as a whole, but even then it is quite rigid, with only emerging tubules able to move substantially. This as a whole is the result of possessing an armoured shell. The structure provides defence, but at the cost of dexterity. The mouth is designed for consuming food, and has three different structures to assists in this. There are four setae used to feel, taste and grab food, then six grinding clubs which are used for mastication. There are also mandibles, a single pair located within the inner mouth, that can stretch outward into the open water to tear at meat or plant matter. Zalkyuz have an omnivorous diet and require plenty of calcium to maintain shell growth and integrity.
The second segment is externally unremarkable, and contains the creature’s stomach. It is worth noting that each segment is not internally closed of- the shell structure is external, and so many organs connect between one another even with segment divisions seemingly in the way. The third segment contains the beginning of the intestines, which run close to the segment’s internal end to make room for the central ballast chambers. Each segment had some degree of cavity used to maintain buoyancy, but the third segment is where all organs relating to locomotion are located. In addition to four tubes dedicated to input and output of water, there are also three siphons. This is where the gills are located. Water is passed through the siphons for produce a kind of jet propulsion with minimal energy expenditure, though the speed of this is limited, and vertical movement is more complex due to involving changes in buoyancy. The locomotion of Zalkyuz is among the most complex methods of intelligent life.
The fourth segment contains the end of the intestines at its beginning, with a cloacal tube pumping out waste and birthing young. Indeed, the entire segment is dedicated largely to reproduction, with the uterus and internal reproductive organs centralised here. This is also where the external central cavity begins. This cavity is located on the front of the organism, and contains their muscular limbs. Zalkyuz have a total of eight limbs, each of which ends in a simple two-fingered grasper, designed for grabbing, crushing, and tool manipulation. Two are located beyond the fourth segment, the other two at the fifth’s beginning.
The fifth segment is the largest, and covers most of the creature’s central organs. It contains their heart, which is the three-chambered centre of their primitive closed circulatory system. Due to using hemerythrin as a blood pigment, their venous blood is largely yellow due to the plasma within (the respiratory pigment turns colourless when deoxygenated), and their arterial blood is a violet-pink colour. Also located in this segment are equivalents to the kidney, liver, spleen, pancreas, and several glands, as well as the brain. Due to their body structure, Zalkyuz can suffer considerably from any injury to this area, if it penetrates the shell. This segment is partially protected by an internal mesoskeleton- a skeleton using fluid pressure to maintain shape- but this offers little aid against substantial injuries. Externally, this segment also contains the electroceptors and a pair of fin-like crests, which can be moved to a small degree to aid stability while swimming.
Zalkyuz are genderless hermaphrodites, with each individual possessing a male and female set of reproductive organs. Both are located within the ventral cavity, between the second and third set of limbs. Due to their style of reproduction, mutual fertilisation is an expected outcome. As such, their family dynamic is nurturing, to tend to their children, and partners are strongly bonded.
Zalkyuz emotions linger for longer and more powerfully than human emotions. As the only intelligent race on their world, they considered themselves the pinnacle of creation, and even their religions have generally used deities more as providers than as superiors. This leads to a pampered and arrogant attitude in general, though exceptions exist- especially in a far more nihilistic modern environment. While slow to reach violence, Zalkyuz are often absolute in their decisions. Their lingering emotions compel them to colder forms of rage, fear and joy. Rather than rapid bursts of intense feeling, they instead seek long-term solace- though are by no means tranquil on average, with many complex competitions taking place in their historical societies, each individual seeking to prove their supremacy in one way or another. They are not innately as violent as many species, but when driven to such acts, they show little hesitation or remorse.
Historically, the Zalkyuz formed a united society known as the Zalkyuz Autarchy, a tyrannical state formed after several near-apocalyptic conflicts. This regime was paranoid about the prospect of war with the Simultaneity for several years before the conquest began. However, behind in technology, the Zalkyuz proved a relatively easy conquest. Many of them, having fallen into fanatical xenophobia by this stage, elected to wipe out their populatin centres with nuclear weapons rather than be taken into the Simultaneity. Most Zalkyuz in modern times are located within the Zalkyuz Cortex, which remains a collection of desolated worlds despite several restoration efforts.
“Considers- your detriment. Concludes- your funeral.”
Uuzids are a race of terrestrial beings known for their trilateral symmetry and brute strength. These nine-limbed brutes make use of a primitive nerve net rather than a true brain, and unlike the Zamuth variation of such, they are not easy to consider intelligent. However, they are exceptional when it comes to reflex due to their neurological decentralisation, with each limb having practically a mind of its own, and this allows them to be vicious soldiers. Reflex also allows them to be effective rote learners. Three of an Uuzid's limbs are legs, ending in two-toed tube feet which allow for surprisingly swift motion. Another trio of limbs are found between the legs, and end in three-pronged graspers containing sharp claws. The final trio of appendages is placed in a dorsal position, and contains piercing spines that are used to grapple and puncture prey. Uuzids have little sense of sight, relying mainly upon ground vibrations, echolocation, smell, and touch. Their mouth is located directly underneath the body.
The Uuzids were yet to substantially explore space by the time of the incursion against them. They united under a single front, the Alignment of Kinds, after the Simultaneity attacked. What the interstellar power assumed would be a decisive and easy conquest of savages transformed into a decade-long struggle, as despite their lack of space technology, the Uuzids proved themselves incredibly resilient at defending their territory. Their sheer strength was coupled with shockingly sophisticated military technology for a power disinterested in exploring space. Despite this, the Zamuth tend to consider modern Uuzids among their closest contemporaries due to the similarity of their neurological wiring. As such, while predominantly found in the Uuzid Cortex, the species is prevalent elsewhere on multi-racial worlds, similar to the Bhakuul.
“Presumption unsound. Unworthwhile to resist Simultaneity. Your so-valued so-devoted resistance fails you. No longer kind-traitor. Presume you will justify risk or depart, apoptotic lowling!”
Chosulks are a species of intelligent creatures vaguely resembling winged scallops, originating from the glacial het highly volcanic world of Chosu. They scuttle across the ground with six legs, their talons stabbing the ground like swords with each step. A long tail trails behind them, ending in four vicious bars. Wings unfurl like sails behind each thread, four membranes flapping as modified tendrils carry them into the sky. Their main bodies are shells covered in scratches, a central line giving way from the armour into a pulsating mass of probing antennae and falling tentacles. Tiny indents above each limb mark their eyes. Beneath are four slits, tendrils emerging from each like rigid tongues, curling to serve as their graspers. They chitter and grind the very front of their shell to make noise, feeling the vibrations in the ground and air as they move.
The biochemistry of these creatures is based upon carbon and water, but ammonia is mixed in. Their internal organs must be kept at mildly basic pH levels. Their armour will protect them from volcanic scalds for a short time, but left in average Earthen conditions they would bake alive over the course of several hours. Their every cell can partially encyst to allow for a state of hibernation. Inside their viscous blood, antifreeze proteins allow them to survive the harsh cold, preventing ice crystals from forming within their veins. They also give their blood a faint yellow-green tinge. Though immune to carbon monoxide, they are vulnerable to halogens and especially to heavy metals.
The senses of a Chosulk are similar to those of a human in many regards, but they rely upon them to different degrees. They can sense vibrations in the air or ground based on touch and hearing. They have excellent perception of heat and balance. Their chemical senses, too, are quite effective. They can see in all directions save directly behind above or below, but their actual sight is quite blurry, needing touch to supplement it in many cases.
While content to scuttle on their legs for short journeys, one of the most impressive feats of the Chosulk is being able to sustain flight. Their four muscular membranes can carry them to a moderate height. They can hover but struggle to glide. Sustained flight is also exhausting for a Chosulk, and they often rely upon volcanic updrafts for longer travels.
While omnivores, Chosulks much prefer proper meat to the bland corals or resilient plants of their world. Naturally they are scavengers and hunters, sweeping in from above to snatch smaller creatures and paralyse them with vicious stings. They will devour eggs and meat, often together- though they will save the best meals for their young.
Each Chosulk is a hermaphrodite, exchanging gametes via secretions from the tail. The end stage of Chosulk reproduction is a nightmarish prospect, made all the more horrible by the relentless theatrics many of their cultures bring to it The Chosulk approaches one of the paralysed, often live, animals kept in storage in their historical roosts. It plunges its barbs in, keeping the creature unable to move or resist. Then, it drags the creature towards its mouth. A row of small needle-barbs rush forward- ovipositors. Each one tears through flesh to inject an egg. Parasitic larvae will soon form, growing and growing, devouring this prey from within. Also of note is that larvae can be injected as easily into fellow Chosulks as any other species. Chosulks historically considered themselves masters over other species due to their means of reproduction.
Chosulks were amongst the most fractious powers subjugated by the Simultaneity. Their society, the Chosulk Cooperative, was a small but expanding stellar power that was, in reality, divided into five separate member states, each with its own agenda and ambitions. They came to the unified decision to strike first against the Simultaneity- a decision which failed miserably to achieve anything but provoke the growing imperialist power. Most Chosulks today are found within the Chosulk Cortex, though substantial resistance remains on occupied worlds.
“I see them come in droves, like restless drones of a hive spanning the stars. They say their thoughts are only linked. One day, we will be fully a part of them. And on that die, our legacy ends.”
The most recent race to become members of the Simultaneity are the Queneth. These soft-bodied tripedal amphibians are known for their rapid maturation and incredible spawning capacity. They are also relatively feeble in terms of strength, but highly capable in terms of endurance. They have distinct heads, surrounded by three flexible eyestalks. Their mouths lack jaws, instead making use of no less than eight plates, each carrying several rows of shredding teeth to support their primarily fish-based diet. Queneth perform gas exxchange through the skin, but also possess designated pores for more focused respiration. Two of their arms conclude in three-claws hands, whilst their weaker central arm terminates in a similar but webbed hand, mainly used for supporting balance or snatching fish. Queneth skin is smooth and wet to the touch. The three legs of a Queneth are effectively identical, with five-pronged feet used to maintain balance on rocky shores.
The Queneth originally formed a society known as the Outer Systems Alliance, which was in fact a rebellious faction against their central government that had attained victory and did not wish to rebrand itself. The Queneth were utterly unprepared for the assault of the Simultaneity. Very recently integrated, they are almost exclusively found within in the Queneth Cortex, and registered full users are extremely rare. A degree of resistance still exists amongst the Queneth, but is being gradually quelled by the Simultaneity's efforts.
The military of the Simultaneity is officially known as the Simultaneous Rectification Net, with members termed rectifiers- though those on starships are more commonly known as delvers, and those who control husks as minders. Though there is no official distinction between surface and naval forces, there is a three-way unofficial distinction between local peacekeeping forces, military surface assets, and military naval forces. The most notable reason for this difference is a contrast between their methods of operation. Peacekeeping groups are often named immunity forces, and are composed mainly of volunteers who fight using their own bodies, in addition to specialised units such as augers and hounders. The surface-based military relies upon husks and, less often, mongrels. The naval elements involve numerous true individuals operating vessels in person. Commanders of any force are known as Axons.
Each Cortex has its own individual Cortex Command, which while not officially distinct from the Simultaneous Rectification Web, do tend to effectively serve as local peacekeeping forces rather than offensive units.
The primary focus of the Simultaneous Rectification Net is twofold- gradual expansion and suppression of dissent. For this reason, its defences are focused primarily around eliminating insurgents rather than defending against hostile powers directly. A history of unhindered expansion has led to the belief that engagements with equivalent or superior powers can be averted while maintaining continual growth. It is also assumed that hostile powers will not attack without provocation, and that the Simultaneity's forces can be repurposed to defend the organisation if absolutely necessary, but that their shows of force in subjugating other worlds maintain sufficient power projection to act as a deterrent for any potential aggressor.
Voluntary integrated law enforcers, immunity agents are responsible for ensuring security in general life. They are generally live units equipped with basic weaponry along with specialised capture tools such as arrestor fields. While far from the elites of the Simultaneous Rectification Net, they are nonetheless essential and capable of serving in a near-military capacity in occupied zones.
Vivifiers are immunity agents with specialist medical training and equipment to match. Their primary duty is to keep their colleagues alive wherever possible. There is generally a vivifer assigned to every dispatch of immunity agents, with multiple not being uncommon for larger groups.
The elites of the immunity agents, augers are troops fitted with bulky devices that serve as artificial parallel processors. These computers allow for a nigh-precognitive ability to predict the immediate future and act accordingly, and also allow for sifting through the thoughts of these nearby- even those which are intended to be private. Treated more like special forces operatives, augers are deployed separately from other units and are very valuable, as the survival rate for their procedure is relatively low.
Indicators are mobile drones that are designed to process the thoughts of nearby individuals and probe their minds in detail, detecting and mitigating malicious intent. While simple, they are a relatively effective means of passive crime prevention, and can also be used for active surveillance if required.
“They fester...they rot...them, we shall not follow...”
Once serving as a delver, Tharak rol-Ranis took part in the Chosulk Retaliation War, serving in command of a Trocar I cruiser. He would later go on to command his own vessel during the Queneth Integration War. Experienced in the field of battle, Tharak was shaped into a state of mild xenophobia by his experiences. As such, he is very distrustful of foreign powers, but despite this wishes to be have the Simultaneity be recognised as a more major power. As such, he is head of the Peripheral Lobe, and his ambitious expansionist policies are popular with both the public and the Administration. His harsh measures for suppressing dissent the Cortexes- especially the Chosulk Cortex- have made him less popular in these dominions, however.
“Most Valued One, integration brings no tangible ungain. Only tangible gain. Mutualism offers mutual benefit- our purpose is parallel.”
Zushkalk is a fully integrated Chosulk, selected as the official Ganglion of the Mutualist Apparatus. She serves effectively as a diplomatic representative of the Simultaneity, translating the thoughts of the polity's population and the will of the Administration into terms more easily comprehensible to outsiders. Despite this, her manner of speech can be difficult to understand, as she makes use of a combination of Simultaneous terminology and Chosulk mannerisms, neither of which are especially intuitive to those unfamiliar with their ways.
The Simultaneity is an expansionist but pragmatic power. It seeks to exploit its weaker neighbours and one day integrate them, but does not wish to provoke powers it is not likely to win a war against. For this reason, its expansion is beginning to run into diplomatic hurdles. It is also noteworthy that the Simultaneity's foreign policy is substantially impacted by the votes of its population, even if forces within the polity can influence this opinion considerably.
Feel free to add your own!
- The flag of the Simultaneity is based vaguely upon the appearance of a brainwave scan. The same is true of its Cortices.