Tag Archive: Jarnian Confederation

Tourist Trap coverLetter UPlanets not occupied by Humans or R’il’nians are often found by the Jarnian Confederation. Most are outside the parameters Humans need for life, but when a habitable planet is found, it may be treated in any of several ways. If it is barren, it may be terraformed and colonized. (Example: Horizon.) If it has life but not sentient life it may have some Terran or R’il’nian species imported and then settled by Humans. (Example: Eversummer.) Some planets are of special scientific interest, and they will be kept as pristine as possible. (Example: Mirror.) But if a planet has a native, sentient species, or a species that appears to be evolving toward sentience, that planet will be left alone, and warning beacons will be placed around it.

No contact is permitted with the inhabitants of such a planet: a species must earn its own way to the stars. If the planet is deemed attractive to lawbreakers, it will be assigned a Guardian, a R’il’noid who is responsible for keeping the planet safe and insulated from contact with star-faring species. Such planets are known as uncontacted planets.

Earth is an uncontacted planet. There is a Guardian, and in fact Roi was at one time the Guardian for Earth. It is considered a special planet, as the Humans of the Confederation are well aware that it is their ancestral home. But they keep their presence well-hidden from the Humans of Earth.

I’m doing my A to Z blogs from my books, both characters and background information. For characters I’ll introduce them quickly, say what point of time they’re talking from since their situations change drastically through the books, and let them talk. The format of background information will vary according to what I’m talking about. Bold type indicates that more information has been or will be available in another A to Z post. All of these blogs will be scheduled to go live just after midnight Alaska time.

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Homecoming coverletter S(Possible spoilers for the first 30 pages of Homecoming.) Saroi, better known by her nickname of Cloudy, does not appear onstage in any of my books, but she plays an important role as Lai’s former lover, the woman who left him bereft. She was his nurse after his father, the only other R’il’nian alive, was killed in an accident, and it was her love and caring that pulled him back from near-suicidal grief. They became lovers, but Cloudy owed her white hair to a dominant gene that kept the nervous system from developing properly. An affected child born alive would be in severe pain and not sane in any normal sense. Cloudy had another dominant gene that confined the effects to white hair, but in theory one in four of her children would carry the Coven gene without the protective gene. The Genetics Board did not want to risk even a remote possibility of a projective telepath with Coven syndrome, so Cloudy was forbidden to have her sterilization (normal for all Central children before puberty) reversed.

She never spoke these words aloud; she remained silent until the end. But she may well have spoken them to herself.

I loved you, Lai, more than I could ever have told you. It tore my heart in two when I wrote you that note, begging you not to try to find me, and then tried everything in my power to hide my traces, to destroy my identity so thoroughly that even you could not find me.

I succeeded all too well. I was kidnapped and sold as a slave.

I lied when I said that life with you was destroying my privacy, but how could I have told you the truth without the Genetics Board finding out? It was a choice between you and the new life I carried within me, and I had to give your child, your son, a chance. Believe me, my love, nothing else could have induced me to leave you.

They have taken him from me, now, and I can only hope I have taught him to hide his abilities, so like yours, well enough that he can survive and keep clear of the Genetics Board.

I love you, Lai.

I’m doing my A to Z blogs from my books of the Jarnian Confederation, both characters and background information. For characters I’ll introduce them quickly, say what point of time they’re talking from since their situations change drastically through the books, and let them talk. The format of background information will vary according to what I’m talking about. Bold type indicates that more information has been or will be available in another A to Z post. All of these blogs will be scheduled to go live just after midnight Alaska time.

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Homecoming coverLetter RRoi starts life as a slave named Snowy by his mother, though she wasn’t able to keep him past childhood. He was sold as an entertainment slave, but his mother’s training, to hide his odd abilities as they could get him killed, was deep rooted. He has golden eyes flecked with metallic gold, but the contrast is so slight it is hard to see. He is white haired like his mother, with dark bronze skin, lightly built but very well coordinated and athletic. He is a superb dancer and choreographer, and learns new sports, such as horseback riding, very quickly.

Roi is the protagonist of both Homecoming and Tourist Trap, appears in Horse Power, and will appear in the trilogy I’m working on, if I ever get it done. He is speaking here from the early part of Homecoming, shortly before he meets Coryn for the second time. (The first time was when Coryn’s father, Derik, owned Roi.) He’s about fourteen and a half, here.

I wish I could figure out what they want from me. Learn, Kim said, and I am. I understand everything they’re saying in class. It’s just that buzzing in my head. I can’t do anything without feeling exhausted, certainly not use that computer the way they want me to for homework. And with Xazhar making threats at mealtimes, I have to lift my arms to the food, and I’m not getting nearly enough to eat. He sees to it I don’t make any friends, either. Peer pressure discipline may work, but it’s sure not working for me.

I wish I were back just being Derik’s slave, with Timi and Amber and Flame. I knew where I was, there. I knew how to get by as a slave, and I could keep my friends with me. Here …. I’ve figured out what they want me to believe, but why? What they’re telling me can’t be true, but what is? And now I’ve even got Kim mad at me.

I’m doing my A to Z blogs from my books, both characters and background information. For characters I’ll introduce them quickly, say what point of time they’re talking from since their situations change drastically through the books, and let them talk. The format of background information will vary according to what I’m talking about. Bold type indicates that more information has been or will be available in another A to Z post. All of these blogs will be scheduled to go live just after midnight Alaska time.

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This post is part of the World Building Blogfest. Click on the logo to find other participants.


World Building logoAs a purely practical matter, food is very important to R’il’noids using their esper talents. These talents are not used without effort. In particular, the laws of conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, and conservation of angular momentum apply to levitation, telekinesis, and teleportation. Although much can be accomplished by counterweighting (moving an external mass in such a way that the net change in energy, momentum and angular momentum are zero) the energy required for esper work is considerable and R’il’noids and the R’il’nai are notorious for always being hungry. This is particularly true of Healing, where the energy used cannot be offset by counterweighting. The rule is “carbohydrates before intense esper work; protein after.” Failure to comply can lead to hypoglycemia (insulin shock) and loss of consciousness. Espers normally carry tubes of honey.

NGC7027Physical meetings of the Inner Council are always accompanied by high-calorie finger food. Tastes vary, but the food usually has plenty of sugar or honey, often combined with fruit, cream and pastry. After a meeting, some kind of rich soup is in order.

Most food preparation is automated, but there are restaurants with human-prepared food, and experts who develop new dishes and the programs to prepare them.

Individual planets vary greatly in their cuisine and the ingredients available. Marna on Riya lived mostly on wild fruit and nuts, fish, and the produce of her garden. Several of those plants (tika berries, haro nuts, pala fruit, frostberries) were later introduced to Central. Falaron (Terraformed form Earth during the Pleistocene) offered auroch steak and roast peccary. Ethnic restaurants from all over the Confederation abound on Central, while the people of Eversummer, where all imported animals died off very early and the native animals are toxic, live mostly on yams, legumes, cassava, fruits, nuts and grains. (They also eat their dead as a religious rite, and Marna suspects that this developed partly because their diet lacks complete proteins.)


NGC3021, photo credit Hubble GalleryNon-alcoholic beverages include a wide variety of fruit juices and herbal infusions, some with considerable caffeine. (This includes what we would call coffee and tea, both imported from Earth.) Chocolate was imported from Earth quite early, and is used in a variety of beverages. (I know, chocolate is not native to Africa, but the people who followed Jarn found possible food plants on a number of continents.) Milk and cream from a variety of mammals is used in beverages as well as sweets. Of course water is drunk almost everywhere, though in some places (such as Eversummer) pretreatment is needed.

Alcoholic beverages are even more varied. Just about anything with carbohydrates can be used to make an alcoholic beverage, and is on some planet or other. Wine from grapes is probably the most popular among the R’il’noids, and here a peculiarity of their metabolism must be mentioned.

Most R’il’noids have an enzyme in their saliva that breaks down alcohol even before it can be swallowed. Alcohol taken by mouth literally cannot intoxicate them, though most enjoy the complex flavors and aromas of fine wine. In fact, alcohol serves as an excellent fast energy source.

At the opposite extreme some ethnic groups completely lack the ability to metabolize alcohol. One such is the Clan, a starship-based culture spending their entire lives on starships, and making a living by trade. Clan members are notorious for having no head for drink, and can become addicted to alcohol very easily. I have one character from this group, and his taste for alcohol is part of the plot of Tourist Trap.

To find other participants in the World Building Blogfest, click on the logo.


World Building logoIn order to understand the history of the Jarnian Confederation, we need to be introduced to three different species: the R’il’nai, Humans, and Maungs.

The R’il’nai are very human-like in appearance and environmental requirements, the major differences being that their facial features are set somewhat lower than ours, and their eyes have metallic veining. Most have well-developed esper abilities (teleportation, telekinesis, telepathy, and conditional precognition being the most important) as well as empathic ability (ability to actually feel what another is feeling, including sensory input.) They have an advanced science and an inherited language, but tend to be lacking in creativity. Artists, poets and musicians are very rare, but highly valued. Less obvious is the fact that they do not age, and have an extremely slow reproductive rate. (Women are fertile a few hours per century.)

Veil Nebula, hubbleHumans, at the time of the early history of the Confederation, were using learned language and living in hunter-gatherer groups, really extended families. They had developed a great deal of creativity, mostly expressed at that stage by personal adornment, which they regarded as what set them apart from animals. (This was about 125,000 years ago, our time.)

Maungs were a symbiosis, adapted to much higher gravity, denser air and somewhat different atmospheric composition than Humans or R’il’nians. They were not in competition for living space; a Maung would find Death Valley chilly and with the air far too thin, while a Human would find a mountaintop on a Maung planet a little warm for comfort. They were valuable trading partners to the R’il’nai, with the main items of trade being “spices” (often medical) which grew in the conditions preferred by one species or the other.

Physically, the Maungs were around the same mass as Humans, but much different in shape. The simplest description is an animated six-legged footstool with tentacles arising from a stripe down the middle and between the legs. Some of these tentacles carried eyes, others were grasping organs. Communication was via changes in skin color and pattern, and the central nervous system was within the body, not in a separate head.

There were other star-faring species, but they come into history only through a general agreement: intelligent species were to be left strictly alone until and unless they developed interstellar flight on their own. Aggressive species almost always destroyed themselves in the process of getting to the level of science needed.


Starburst Cluster, HubbleA young and rather impatient R’il’nian starship designer, Jarn, designed a new ship and took it out for testing. Being young and thinking he knew better than his teachers, he neglected a few basic safety features. The result? A crash landing on Earth, during the penultimate interglacial, with Jarn managing to get to Africa alive. (His story is being blogged on Fridays, and accumulating on my author site.)

Jarn met early humans, and eventually yielded to the requests of their leaders to share his godlike powers by sexual congress with their female leaders and the mates of the male leaders. He resisted at first, but finally gave in as by everything he knew, there would be no offspring.


They were rare, and many were sterile, but a very few of the People (as they called themselves) began showing unmistakable R’il’nian traits. Jarn had with him a major computer library and by that time was very homesick – could he teach his descendants enough that they could build a starship that would get him back home?

It took over a thousand years, yet not one, but a fleet of starships eventually followed Jarn back to the planet, Kentra, that he called home. By then all Humans carried some of Jarn’s genes, and those who chose not to go with him became our ancestors. Those who followed Jarn were granted a planet by the R’il’nai who, however annoyed they were with Jarn, held the Humans blameless. They did, however, promise the other starfaring species that they would be responsible for the new species that had not really reached the stars on their own.

Early Confederation

Star birth in the Carina nebula, credit Hubble GalleryHumans accepted this guardianship of the R’il’nai for two reasons. First, the R’il’nai resolved disputes between planets. Second, it turned out that the Maung reproductive cycle was potentially deadly to Humans. The Maungs were a symbiosis of an insect-like, highly intelligent nervous system and a mammal-like body with an incomplete nervous system which required the insect-like symbiote to develop intelligence. Death of the mammalian body released the next generation of insect-like symbiotes. Maungs already complete gave off a signal that prevented them from being infected by the insect-like symbiote, and R’il’nians gave the same signal. Humans did not, and the symbiote acted as a true parasite in Humans, eventually taking over the brain. The R’il’nai could detect and cure infections if they were caught early enough, and agreed to do so if the Humans would allow them to mediate disputes

Kharfun Epidemic

Infant Stars, HubbleThe Humans, with their high reproductive rate, began to colonize many more planets, but the system worked until about 10,000 years ago, when a flu-like disease in Humans proved deadly to R’il’nians and many of the early hybrids that were often leaders in Human society. A treatment and a method of immunization were found, but there was a drastic reduction of the already low R’il’nian population and virtually complete death of the early-generation hybrids who often took leadership roles on the Human planets.. There simply were not enough left to act as mediators and protect the Human planets from the Maungs. At the request of some Humans, Human-R’il’nian hybridization was again tried, this time deliberately. The successful hybrids, called R’il’noids, took over the guardianship duties. A governing system developed with two Councils of R’il’noids taking over much of the day-to-day running of what was now called the Jarnian Confederation, though the R’il’nai retained veto power. Individual planetary systems were left strictly alone unless they asked for help (mostly medical or natural disaster related) or attempted to attack a neighbor, and a wide variety of planetary governments developed.

By the time of my first novel, Homecoming, there was only one surviving R’il’nian.

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