The Forgotten Brother

In the Hellas system, occupying an orbit almost totally opposite of Bacchus lies the planet Akrotyri, a war torn wasteland; her people lost to the bythos, her very existence nearly lost from the galaxies colective memory. The planet is not within the normal vector of ships moving in and out of the Hellas system, hence few if any people even wander by, let alone visit on purpose.  And most dont even know it exists. The story of how this once fertile world is an education in how a great society can implode on itself when its leaders pursue bad ideas.

             When the Ancients arrived in the galaxy, with tens of thousands of Apsu in their convoy, the Akrotyrians were happy to invite the new people into their system and assist them in settling on two of their sister worlds; Bacchus and Demeter.  But the welcome would be short lived, after an initial decade of peaceful and fruitful trade among the three worlds, tensions began to build; initially the problems were feeble, trade imbalances and tariffs being the only indication of trouble.  When the Apsu arrived, they were in great need of Akrotyrian goods, but in short order they were producing their own goods, and began exporting them back to Akrotyri and further out into the galaxy.  The Akrotyrian king at the time, a man named Tiamot II, the third generation from a powerful planet ruling dynasty. He became displeased when his customers no longer needed his goods; having had two worlds dependant on the Akrotyrian bounty he found himself in need of new markets.  Tiamot II sent out emissaries to worlds beyond Hellas in search of new customers for Akrotyrian goods.  But they were ill prepared to compete with Crimson Quill and the myriad of smaller traders operating in the wider galaxy.  Akrotyri lacked a unique product, or rare commodity not common on other worlds.  The thing most unique about Akrotyri was the relatively high quality of life enjoyed by the majority of her people.  The planets population was small, and her resources abundant; there was plenty to go around and enough people willing to work to move those resources around yet Tiamot II was not willing to invite off worlders to his planet.

            Taking council from the Ancients who maintained a presence in orbit around Akrotyri, Tiamot II had begun to re-order his already great society; Akrotyri had not known open war for over 4 generations, a stark contrast to a wildly chaotic past.  That chaos ended due in large part to the efforts of the king's grandfather Tiamot the 1st, who had brought peace to their world, freedom and liberty abounded for all who adhered to the will of the king.  There were of course social problems; crime, disease and disorder were not unknown, but most Akrotyrians lived good lives.  Three generations later Tiamot II with his sons ever at his side, and advisors from the Ancients ever at his ear; set out to make a great society perfect.   
            His first order was to clear the country sides and expand the cities; there had been frequent famines and droughts throughout the millennia and each time the rural people had suffered dearly.  To prevent this, these people were moved into the cities, the fields would be farmed mechanically using technology provided by the Ancients.  Block after block of towering housing buildings were constructed to accommodate the new city dwellers.  Small towns and isolated mountain villages were cleared out, their people shipped into the cites, some of which more than tripled in size in mere months.  Each building which encompassed four square city blocks was a town unto itself, with a large commissary, providing dry goods, house hold supplies, medical provisions and even hot meals twice a day.  The intent being that one need never leave their building; entertainment was bountiful on their Planetary Record with a special branch of government set up specifically to create a plethora of entertaining programs to please the varied interest of their terran audiences.  But even with these extensive efforts to keep the people happy, it wasn’t long before tensions arose between the Mounties (a term long used to describe the dwellers of the small mountain towns,) and the more sophisticated urban natives, who considered their new neighbors, low brow at best and downright ignorant at worst.  Tiamot II set his eldest son Kiel to manage the disruptions.  When the strife grew more intense outmigration set in; urbanites began to attempt to move to neighborhoods farther away from the new developments.  When it became obvious what was happening, government officials put and end to it.  The locals, many of which had been in their cities and neighborhoods for tens of generations were demanding to be moved away from the Mounties.  Kiel settled on a solution, he would concentrate all Mounties in one group of cities, and all urbanites in another group of cities to keep them apart.  Even this was insufficient, the same problem of mixing groups of people from varied locations and compacting them into new and unfamiliar neighborhoods proved a dubious decision.  So when segregation eventually failed to solve the tensions, and mollify the people, Kiel and his younger brother Tiamot III built a new planetary police force to smother the flames of tension. 
            The new planetary police known as the Namtar, patrolled and maintained order across the five livable continents of the planet but this too was a failed solution, as the Namtar was staffed with natives of the various cities who came down hardest on new comers creating further stratification.  The harder Tiamot II and his sons tried to maintain order the more chaos arose.  The tension would continue for over a generation well into the reign of Kiel II who began a campaign of extermination of the Ki, a small minority religious sect (the only remaining adherents to the original religion of Akrotyri) who had remained spread across the planet as they were previously present in every corner of Akrotyri long before the reordering.  The Ki had long been an easy scapegoat for Tiamot and his descendants who when ever the need arose would always revert to blaming an odd and misunderstood minority.  The progenitor of the royal family, Tiamot was a militant agnostic who brought order by crushing a myriad of religious factions who had been jockeying for control of Akrotyri for thousands of years.  The Ki however were not one of those groups, they had always been a peaceful lot who neither sought to spread their beliefs nor impose them upon others.  Hence their survival when all other religious groups were crushed by Tiamot the Great.  Five Generations later, on advice from the Ancients, Tiamot IV ordered the Namtar to round up the Ki and banish them from the planet.  But a number of high ranking Namtar officers were themselves Ki, or had relations who were adherents to the “Old Way” as it was called.  Those officers would have to be pushed aside before the order could be carried out.  And when it finally was put into effect, the banishment order had a surprising effect, as many previously agnostic Akrotyrians began to join the Ki, motivated by three generations of chaos and forced relocation many were desperate for something they could take with them no matter where they were sent. And the Old Way became that thing.            

            When the Old Way began to spread among the people Kiel II was enraged and ordered a total purge of all Ki found to be remaining within the Namtar; he replenished their ranks with new younger recruits drawn from the Royal Schools that were built to teach the children of Akrotyri the lessons of the Ancients.  Kiel II had himself attended these schools and was deeply committed to the new ideas.  His anger with the Ki grew with each passing year, and the order for expulsion was replaced with an order for extermination.  Even with their rise in popularity, the Ki were still a small minority within the population and not easy to identify.   The religion had gone underground when their temples were looted and burned by the Namtar.  Unable to properly identify their targets the Namtar began to threaten and harass anyone who didn’t fall totally inline with the new ways, any decent was met with swift and brutal retribution.  This would go on for another generation, before Rabisu, son of Kiel II came to power.  He had been a general in the Namtar until his father’s death, now King Rabisu would make it his sole mission in life to rid Akrotyri of the scourge of the Ki, and silence forever the Old Way.  But his devotion to their destruction would all but wipe out life on his own planet.  Many Ki had long since been banished from the Akrotyri, but as word of the new wave of terror spread many returned to defend their brothers and sisters at home.  Using weapons purchased from the Apsu on Demeter the Ki came back with the intention of removing Rabisu from power and putting an end to Tiamot’s dynasty.  But Rabisu was prepared to defend his regime with weapons provided by the Ancients.   
             His first act was to poison the lakes and streams in the Akkad valley where the Ki were gathering supporters, forcing them into the mountains where fresh water melted from the frozen peaks.  The poison was not however confined to the Akkad valley; a potent artificially developed biological sludge called “the Black” (though it was actually deep purple in color) would spread across the planet in less than five years infecting seas, rivers and lakes throughout Akrotyri.  The water tainted by the Black would cause a gruesome and painful death to any person or animal that drank it.  Many species of fish and other aquatic animals that came into contact with the Black also died in large numbers, while others were mutated into horrible aggressive creatures that would starve over time due to the large fish kills caused by the Black.  With the tainted water came droughts and famines, which had not happened since before the arrival of the Ancients.  The Black formed a thick film on the surface of the water preventing evaporation, in turn preventing rain and causing desertification of once lush grasslands and forests. 
            All these natural disasters only hastened the impending war between the Namtar and the returning Ki, and a rapidly growing resistance within the regular population.  Now they fought not just for control of the planet, but for control of the rapidly dwindling resources on the planet.   King Rabisu planned a master stroke, a singular attack to wipe out his enemies now hiding in the mountains south of the Akkad valley.  His troops in the Namtar set explosives at the base of the mountains, spread across several kilometers; but by the time the bombs went off the Ki were gone, they had already lifted their people off the mountain, Namtar troops sympathetic to the Ki had warned them weeks in advance.  The resulting explosions began a series of massive terra quakes that led to volcanic activity that filled the skies of Akrotyri with thick clouds of ash.   Within hours no ship could escape nor enter the planet’s atmosphere, cutting off King Rabisu from the Ancients in orbit above the planet and preventing him or anyone else from escaping the planets surface.    

            Over the next six months the people of Akrotyri would literally tear one another apart fighting over the few resources available in the over crowded cities.  The mechanical farm equipment was permanently damaged in the quakes, no food remained growing in the fields, no transports were available to move people out of the cities, Rabisu had them destroyed to keep the people from coming to his remote palace looking for food.  Rumors spread among the people that a ship was being prepared to help some important people escape the planet.  Riots hemorrhaged across the planet, every city was awash in chaos; fires, looting and vandalism became the norm.  Large mutated aquatic beasts came from the seas and began to feed on the already panicked people. Once peaceful citizens had exploded into rage, and then… slowly, there was silence.  In less than a year after the initial explosions began the calamity, life on Akrotyri was no more.  A population of over a billion people had wiped themselves out.  And what was left behind was a series of open sores; cities lying in ruin, a testament to their leader’s devotion to perfection.


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