“Our aim is to make sure that all of our planets are as perfect as our homeworld. Have you visited our homeworld? It's a nice place, but I'm not particularly fond of all the stinging insects. Talking about that, lack of stinging insects probably makes our colonies more perfect than the capital.”
- - Emperor Ghelax Dreyk
Taukappa, often known as Imperial Capitol (which technically referred to the central administrative tower in Imperial City, Apalos), was the original homeworld of the Tentekh and the capital planet of the Girdo Empire.
Taukappa was formed, along with its sun and the rest of the planets in its system, approximately five billion years before the rise of the Imperial species and their Empire. Around one billion years later, a life-bearing comet crashed into the planet's oceans and released primitive organisms into the ocean. The first terrestrial life left the oceans three billion years after that, and mass migration onto land occured another half a billion years later.
Throughout its history, life on Taukappa suffered only three major mass extinctions:
- 3,500,000,000 PE (Pre-"Empire"): An Ice Age killed all life in the upper levels of Taukappa's oceans. 100,000,000 years later, a large asteroid impact and several volcanoes began to melt the ice. Some time after that, Taukappa moved closer to its sun and all of the ice disappeared.
- 250,000,000 PE: A comet struck the continent of Protodoltarn, spreading thick ash clouds and wiping out 70% of all life on the planet (95% of life on Protodoltarn, 70% of all oceanic life and 55% of life on the archipelagos of Archeargolce).
- 5,000,000 PE: Ancestors of the Tentekh wiped out nearly all animal life on Argolce in a highly coordinated attack. Their motivations for this are unknown.
Time of the Empire Edit
The appearance of Imperial civilisation brought very few changes to the planet, except for the urbanisation of a few areas of the surface and the mining of spice geysers.
Surrounding the Empire's ten cities, there are vast rings with a diameter of several hundred kilometres that can be seen from space. These were where various changes were made to Taukappa's environment. Forests there were stripped, rocks containing precious ores were mined until there was nothing left but soil and sand, enormous farming settlements were built and worked on for thousands of years, slums were built, and eventually the vast battles of the Imperial-Kingdom War destroyed all of it and left the land empty. Now, mostly grasses and small plants grow there.
Once the Empire reached space, they looked after their planet more carefully. However, they had enemies, who threatened Taukappa with environmental collapse and even outright destruction. However, the only real danger came from a Planet Buster that was fired during the Post-Grox Crisis in 96 AE. The bomb was successfully destroyed before it could destroy the entire planet, but its detonation caused a shockwave that devastated the east coast of Argolce and wiped out approximately 40% of lifeforms in the Outer Ocean.
Finally, during the Annihilation, Taukappa was destroyed along with the rest of the Girdo Galaxy.
The regions of Taukappa are named after the ten city-states that were built during the early history of the Imperial species. No other cities were ever built, since all of the other tribal groups on the planet chose to move into these cities when contacted by them. This is possibly due to the species' group mind, resulting in less of a desire for political independence from each other.
Argolce ("land") was the continent on which the Imperial species evolved, and it was the location of Imperial City - the official capital city of the Empire.
On the eastern coast of Argolce lay the region of Apalos ("city"). It was mostly composed of open grasslands and patches of dense forest. The Apalos coast was a twenty-mile stretch of beach, but had been split in half by Imperial City's ports. Imperial City, previously known as Apalos, was the administrative capital of Taukappa.
Teledros ("hot forest") was south of Apalos, but still on Argolce's east coast. The Teledros region contained a large, dense forest, as well as a small row of foothills (which were mountains at one time, but slowly eroded over millions of years) and a 500-mile beach that ran from the city of Teledros down and along the south coast. The Valley of Death, a barren area containing a few carnivorous plants at the western opening, connected the Teledros Forest to the coast. Teledros gave its name to two of the domesticated reptilian creatures that originated in the region - the herbivorous Teledrosaurus and the carnivorous Teledroraptor. The city of Teledros was the economic centre of Taukappa.
Deamol ("grassland") lay in the centre of Argolce, and was mostly covered in semi-arid grassland and small areas of woodland. There were also a few large freshwater lakes which the city of Deamol lay close to, and towards its borders with Atiermun and Apalos there were several large mountains which were the remnants of extinct volcanoes. The city of Deamol was where most of Taukappa's military administration was run.
Atiermun (meaning unknown; possibly "level cold") was the northernmost city on Argolce, but still experienced a temperate climate even in winter. The Atiermun region was mostly forested but also had regions of grassland and wetland. Its coast was a mixture of cliffs and rocky beaches. Atiermun was the religious centre of Taukappa.
The continent of Doltarn ("belonging to the ocean") was larger than Argolce, and contained the rest of the planet's cities. The Kingdom, which was once the Empire's greatest rival for domination of the planet, originated from the city of Emeshk and operated from this continent. Doltarn was seperated from Argolce by the Outer Ocean to its west, the Inner Ocean to its east, and the Northern and Southern Oceans to the north and south respectively.
The Emeshk ("King beach") region was a mostly coastal one. It was on the east coast of Doltarn, and was a subtropical region at a latitude between those of Apalos and Atiermun. The main area of the Emeshk region was the Bay of Emeshk, containing Chalkcliff Sands to the north (along a set of chalk cliffs, hence the name). Most of the rest of the Bay was made up of sand and gravel beaches.
Faratan ("belonging to the desert") was an arid region near the east coast of Doltarn, south-west of Emeshk and at a latitude slightly further north (and closer to the equator) than Teledros. The Faratan Mountains lay on the border between Faratan and Emeshk, and the dry Faratan Plains made up the rest of the region, often giving way to open desert.
Acorecos ("empty dry") was an equatorial savannah region in the centre of the continent of Doltarn. It had little else of note, including poor resources, hence it was the first city taken over by Emeshk since it could be conquered easily.
The subtropical Klapara ("river") region was composed of lush grasslands and sparse forest, which was denser towards the south where several rivers ran from the tip of the Faratan Mountains to the north. Klapara was the southenmost city on Doltarn, and at a slightly lower latitude than Teledros.
Batelbios ("wet life") was a densely-forested region south-west of Acorecos. It had several lakes surrounded by swampy wetlands.
Tralask ("sand beach") took up all of Doltarn's west coast. Its sandy beaches and dry dunes made it useless for anything other than tourism, hence it was primarily composed of tourist resorts and nature reserves centred in the city of Tralask.
Although most of Taukappa's native organisms are extinct, eleven species of animals belonging to two vertebrate classes survived the destruction of the Girdo Galaxy due to being either domesticated or captive elsewhere.
The Dinosauroida are a class of reptilian species that were found exclusively on the continent of Argolce and in the surrounding waters, notable for possessing scaly skin (often with armour or spines), vertically-opening jaws, tails, and four limbs. Only five genera of dinosauroids survived, all as a result of domestication. Four species were from the Teledros region, while the fifth, the aviforme, was endemic to the savannahs of Apalos and Deamol. However, by the time the Empire had become spacefaring, herds of wild and feral dinosauroids of all five species dominated the uninhabited areas of the continent.
Aviformes are herbivorous dinosauroids with several adaptations to flight and a semi-arboreal lifestyle, including wings which evolved from their forelegs and flexible, multiple-jointed hindlegs. They have few defences, having lost their teeth and most of their armour to decrease their weight, and primarily use flight, keen senses, and a communication system consisting of feather-waving and loud calls to escape predators.
Domesticated aviformes were traditionally farmed for their eggs, but later found their way into households and became popular as pets.
Deinodonts were the apex predators of Argolce in areas not dominated by epic creatures, before the Imperials' ancestors began to systemically exterminate their main prey, the herdisaurs. Only the Teledrosan genus Deinodon escaped this campaign due to the relative abundance of food in the region, but for the same reason was much less aggressive than its close relatives and was soon domesticated and used by Imperials as hunting companions alongside Teledroraptor.
Herdisaurs were herbivorous relatives of the deinodonts (Deinodontidae and Herdisauridae both being part of the order Tetrasauria) and their main prey, and hence it is believed that they were deliberately targeted by the ancestors of the Imperials in order to remove the threat posed by deinodont herds. The Teledrosan Herdisaurus was the only herdisaur genus to survive, and was instead domesticated as livestock to feed both Imperials and domesticated Deinodon.
Some domesticated herdisaurs have their spiked tail clubs surgically removed so as to be less dangerous, while most have been genetically modified to lack them altogether.
Teledroraptor is a genus of small predatory dinosauroid that was domesticated by Teledrosan Imperials for hunting companions due to being smaller, faster, more agile and more vicious than the strong but bulky Deinodon. Since the founding of the city of Teledros, Teledroraptors have been kept as family pets, and they are noted for being especially kind towards children.
Teledrosaurus is a herbivorous relative of the Teledroraptor (both belonging to the order Teledrosauria). Despite being predominantly found in the Teledros region, Teledrosaurus was still by far the most common Argolcean herbivore, and were domesticated as an easy source of meat and eggs. Several other species of herbivorous teledrosaur are known from the fossil record, including the only known Doltarnan dinosauroids, but were apparently driven to extinction by competition with frugivores and grazerbeaks.
Much like aviformes and Teledroraptor, Teledrosaurus is a common family pet, although it is noticably less intelligent, but also requires much less food and will normally graze on garden plants.
Xenomorphoids were the most diverse and widespread class of Taukappan vertebrates, being found in terrestrial envrionments worldwide, although large xenomorphoid predators were outcompeted by dinosauroid carnivores on Argolce. Most have six limbs, horizontally-opening jaws and lack a tail, although there are exceptions to all three of these trends.
Demons of the Depths are a family of bipedal semi-aquatic omnivores native to tropical beaches and wetlands worldwide. The name (which is not the original Apalose name) is a deliberate exaggeration of Fectonian origin; the creatures' most dangerous activity is stealing unattended food from tourists. As such, they have been introduced to the coastal regions of many worlds in the Allied Terran Republic which lack suitable conditions for seagulls.
Grassland frugivores are herbivorous xenomorphoids which feed exclusively on fruit growing on trees, with a long neck and their midlegs having evolved into arms, native mostly to Acorecos and Klapara. They are commonly hunted by omnicides and scurriers, and despite living in small groups instead of large herds, frugivores are far from defenceless: alongside sharp claws and acute senses, they possess enlarged tear ducts which have the ability to launch sticky venom. Along with scurriers, frugivores are the only known xenomorphoids to lack horizontally-opening mouths, with frugivore jaws opening vertically like those of dinosauroids instead.
Related frugivore species are known from subfossil remains, but were made extinct by competition from grazerbeaks and overhunting by early Doltarnan tribes. In particular, legends of Emeshk Castle state that its throne room contained skeletons of the giant lime frugivore, but during the siege that preceded the Battle of Emeshk, they were boiled for stew by the starving inhabitants of the fortress.
Grazerbeaks are small herbivores that are completely adapted to eating ground-dwelling plants, and could be found in all areas of Doltarn besides the most arid parts of the Faratan Plains. Their only defences against predators are living in large herds and being unappetising due to their small size and heavy armour plating. Their legs are too slow to carry them away at any great speed, even without armour, while their four eyes and six antennae are only good for detecting food sources.
Jungle mowers are the largest Taukappan herbivores, using their height and long trunks to graze on trees on the outskirts of tropical forests. Their closest living relatives are the grazerbeaks and plains scurriers, although their most recent common ancestor with both existed nearly 80 million years ago. Mowers were found on both Argolce and Doltarn, presumably having travelled from the latter to the former by wading over submerged sandbanks in the narrowest regions of the Inner Ocean. As epic creatures they were too bulky for any predators to hunt, which meant that their numbers on their homeworld were controlled almost entirely by food scarcity and disease.
Unlike most other xenomorphoids, jungle mowers have only four limbs, due to the excessive food requirements that a third pair would give them. These limbs are all legs with wide feet, which minimise the pressure exerted by the mowers' weight on soft ground.
Omnicides are widely regarded as being one of the most bizarre-looking Taukappan species, although they were the apex predators of nearly all of Doltarn, with the exception of the jungles of Batelbios which were unsuitable for their large, elaborate headdresses. Like the jungle mowers, omnicides have only four limbs, two of them being arms, and as such they require a tail and exceptionally muscular thighs in order to remain balanced. Much like frugivores, omnicides have enlarged venom-spitting tear ducts; battles between the two species may exclusively involve these weapons being used at range.
Due to their ferocious nature, omnicides have never been domesticated without genetic engineering, but are popular in zoos and safari parks. They occasionally form packs during mating season, but otherwise must be kept in isolation to prevent them from killing each other, or even their own offspring.
Plains scurriers are Doltarnan predators related to frugivores, similarly having clawed midleg-derived arms and non-horizontal jaws (but in the case of scurriers, these jaws open radially). Their main source of food is savannah grazerbeaks, although forest-dwelling plains scurriers fed mainly on carrion while those in the Faratan Plains must have had a different diet. Like grazerbeaks, scurriers have two pairs of eyes, giving them 270-degree vision, while their blind spot is protected by armour and spikes. Both the armour and the second pair of eyes were shared by the common ancestor of scurriers and grazerbeaks 40 million years ago.
Much like frugivores, several species of scurrier existed up until historical times, when Doltarnan tribes wiped them out due to predation of their grazerbeak herds. Plains scurriers survived purely due to their wide range and ability to go without food for a much greater time than their forest- and wetland-adapted relatives.
Seamites are semi-aquatic arachnoid predators, with species found in Batelbios and Deamol. The seamite lineage is the most divergent of all xenomorphoid orders, as evidenced by their three eyes and additional pair of limbs. On their own, seamites are only capable of posing a threat to grazerbeaks, but can usually be found in swarms of dozens of individuals, and there is even one known case of a pack of omnicides having been killed and eaten by a particularly large group of seamites.