Boring factoids not mentioned because the story would have been twice as long;


1) Kort and Kand ‘had a thing.’  Kort, like Kand, is a bully, and they got along well, with Kand being the first woman he’s met as violent and ill-tempered and contemptuous of ‘weakness’ (i.e. everyone else) as himself.  It may not have been love, yet, but she’s the first person he hasn’t held in contempt, and he’s gonna be pissed at Sarya when he wakes up and find out that she’s dead…  The first person who notes that this sets up sequel potential gets kicked right in the ghoulies.  There will be no sequel.  I hope.  I pray.


2) Kand was not mind-controlled.  She was free-range evil.  As were Mano, Kort and the Persuader.  Everybody else working for Tharok was not trusted.  (Well, *nobody* was trusted, but Tharok only had so many mind-control implants to go around, which is why Mano, Kort, the Persuader and Kand got to be evil of their own volition, and many of the Warriors of the Sangti also had to be duped by the Seers and other Warriors that Tharok, with the help of Kand, did control.)


3) Tharoks ship has cloaking technology, shunt-technology, faster-than-light interstellar capability, etc.  It’s as good as a Coluan ship (and better armed, to boot), and only Dox can figure it out, making Venegar, ironically, the only planet in the UP to have a Coluan-equivalent ‘diplomatic’ vessel.


4) The ‘Priests of Memory’ on Talokk are the rare Talokkian telepaths.  On most other worlds, telepaths are indistinguishable from the common populace, but on Talokk VIII, telepaths are born with green skin and hair, and can be identified at birth.  These babies are taken to the mountain temples to join the priesthood.  ‘Normal’ Talokkians are blue, dark purple or glossy black in skin color.  Ravin and Tasmia are from the same continent, and share the blue coloration.  Talokkian eyes are always black, regardless of skin tone or telepathic / normal status.  Unlike most humanoids in this sector of the galaxy, including Titanians, Braalians, Winathians, Carggites, Xanthuni, Orandans, Venegarians, etc., Talokkians do not seem to have ‘come from Earth.’  The evidence is unclear whether or not they evolved on Talokk VIII.


5) Braal was settled by Earthers from primarily European and Asian stock.  Most Braalians have dark hair, brown eyes and sallow skin, with Asian facial features being relatively common.  Rare Braalians have blue eyes, green eyes or blonde hair.  Most Braalians have a slighter build, like Rokk, with Kort being an exception.  Due to the high iron concentration in Braalian physiology, brown-eyed Braalians have a reddish tint to their eyes, green-eyed Braalians appear to have brown eyes, and the rare blue-eyed Braalians have purple eyes.  The eyes of Braalians do not normally glow in the dark.  Rokk is special, having had one of the strongest biomagnetic fields on record, before the arrival of Kort.  Rokk was considered ‘special,’ but not freakishly so.  In the case of Kort, the biomagnetic field was so off-the-charts that he was openly referred to as a mutant or a freak (particularly by those he had beaten), and there was a question whether or not he would even be allowed to compete!


6) Rokk does not have a ‘man-crush’ on Garth.  I deliberately avoided using gender-specific pronouns when having Rokk recount his past on Braal, to leave it open and allow for the possibility, but, while Rokk has experience playing both sides of the court, Garth is completely off his radar.  As Rokk would ruefully point out, “Jath is all the ‘man’ I’ll ever need.”


7) Garth, on the other hand, doth protest too much.  Alayn’s change to Ayla didn’t just bother him because of the ‘losing a brother’ thing, as much as the, ‘we’re identical twins, if *he’s* a she, what does that say about me?’ thing.  Winathian farmboys are often beefy, but as Ayla became daintier, Garth spent a lot of time working off aggression at the gym, and is beefier than many.  As she became more female, Garth overcompensated and became more male.  You’ll note that he doesn’t mention this, because he’s, what a shock, an unreliable narrator!  His mild attraction towards Rokk has no effect on his relationship with Imra, to whom he’s *far* more attracted.  Imra knows and dismisses this.  She’s a telepath, if she waited for a man who never noticed anyone else ever, she’d spend the rest of her life waiting, alone.


8) Winath was settled by Earth-descended humanoids from many worlds of all different ethnicities.  The Ranzz family in particular is of Scottish descent (although, like most Europeans, there’s a motley mixture involved), and a thousand years ago, their family was known as ‘the Ryans.’  That name has been corrupted over the centuries, obviously.


9) Colu, for centuries, consisted of the One, the Twos and the Threes.  The One was some form of artificially intelligent life that landed (some say crashed) on the world and sent nanomachines into the crust of the world and transformed the vast sheets of silicon beneath the surface of Colu into one enormous super-computer!  This planet-sized mechanical intelligence is ‘the One.’  Building sized supercomputers, often shaped like vast humanoid skulls with many tentacle- like inputs to the rest of the planet and to each other (and down into the ground), run the sixteen individual ‘cities’ of Colu.  These are the Twos.  The Threes were a ‘race’ of thousands of non-sentient processing units that were embodied in humanoid form, and performed manual research, serving as the hands, eyes, etc. of the non-mobile Twos and One.  The One eventually realized that Colu could not stay hidden behind cloaking shields from the burgeoning United Planets, and crafted two new ranks.  The current Threes were downgraded to Fives, being replaced by the current Threes (like Ambassador Orin Fex), a caste of sentient researchers, and their aides, the Fours (like Sharn Nux).  Coluan Threes and Fours are smarter than any other known humanoid, for certain, but much of their computational abilities are tied up in specific matrices.  Fives remain ‘smarter,’ if non-sentient, being designed solely for computational ability.  Despite this, the Coluan Embassy ‘stacks the deck,’ using espionage and sabotage to retain their technological edge, first by stealing any useful developments from their ‘allies,’ and, more importantly, making sure that they maintain an exclusive control of certain technologies, such as the development of fully-sentient artificial intelligence (which has been achieved at least a half-dozen times on various UP worlds, only to suffer ‘accidents’), and dimensional shunt technology.  The One has spent the last eighty Earth-standard years working on ‘The Problem,’ and vast quantities of Coluan resources are spent assisting in this task.  ‘The Problem’ it seeks is a means of exactly mathematically expressing every particular of any given object or event, coordinating it in time, space, by mass, atomic number, vector, etc.  Once all sixteen variables are assigned (and note that the One still hasn’t even found out what all sixteen of the variables *are*), the One theorizes that it will be able to *change* any single variable, altering the position in space, or time, or atomic composition, or mass, of any phenomena it has so ‘measured.’  By it’s own calculations, the One is decades, perhaps even centuries, away from solving ‘the Problem,’ and the rest of the galaxy remains blissfully ignorant of it’s relentless progress towards mathematical omnipotence.


10) Titan was settled by Earthers of all creeds, castes and colorations, sharing only the psi-active gene in common.  The vast majority of them came from Asia, Africa, India and / or South America, but the most coordinated group came from northern Europe (particularly Ireland), where they had been gathering in isolated communities for over a century.  When they arrived on Titan, the majority concluded that they should abandon the racial differences that led to strife back on Earth, and begin merging their bloodlines.  A minority rabidly disagreed, and being that the minority was primarily of white European stock, fair-haired and light-eyed, things grew tense.  The ‘purists’ separated themselves off in a far corner of the old H’san Nataal base, severing all but the most sporadic contact with the majority.  Almost a millennium later, this division is all-but forgotten and the two factions have long since fallen away, but its mark is still visible on the Titanian populace.  Over ninety-percent of the residents of Titan are dark complected (but often pale due to their indoors existence), with black hair and brown eyes.  They have grown so homogenous in appearance, due to their diet and exercise regimens, that off-worlders sometimes have trouble telling the males from the females.  The remaining minority tend to be pale-skinned (appearing almost albino, because of their lack of exposure to UV), with red or blonde hair and blue or green eyes.  This sub-population also tends to retain a sharper sexual dimorphism, and humanoid aliens have no difficulty telling their males and females apart.  Imra, like all Titanians, of either ‘bloodline,’ has no interest in cosmetics or matters of personal appearance.  It is a blessing that she happens to be beautiful anyway.  Ambassador Savin Banel and Reyu Nataal are both members of the racially blended majority, and if the two were to stand side-by-side, it would be hard to tell them apart, despite being completely unrelated.  Eve Aries dyes her hair red, being a bit of a purist at heart, disappointed at her brown hair.  (She also has been off-world long enough to know the value of using cosmetics, not to enhance her beauty, but to fool other races into not realizing that she is from Titan, so that she can more readily plunder their unwary minds.)  She was exiled from Titan for using her telepathic powers to coerce and cheat visiting members of other races.  Technically, her ‘work’ was all to the benefit of Titan, but assault is assault, no matter the species of the victim, and the greatest crime on Titan is permanent exile.  Like all of the rare Titanian exiles, she wears a locked collar that broadcasts a telepathic signal warning of her presence (and provides a visible warning of her nature to non-telepaths).  She wears a high-necked collar to hide this device, and uses her own telepathy to attempt to avoid other telepaths, rather than be ‘outed’ as a former (or, in this case, current) criminal.


11) Related to their reliance on agriculture, and being subject to natural forces, such as weather, Winathians tend to have a strong respect for the natural world.  In some cases, this has reached the stage of faith, with overtones as much scientific as religion.  Ayla, in particular, had difficulties with this faith, as ‘the will of nature’ is the ‘god’ of this faith, and a person changing their gender is considered to be subverting the ‘natural order.’  It doesn’t reach the point of crowds and pitchforks, but neither is it a particularly fun environment for the ‘pervert.’


12) Cargg has three moons, equidistantly spaced and sharing an identical orbital track.  There is little chance that this occurred by coincidence, but the science that could have arranged such a phenomena is beyond even Coluan means.  More importantly, in between the three moons, also equidistant, are a trio of spatial distortions, barely detectable.  Any matter (or even highly energized plasma) causes these distortions to ‘flare up’ momentarily, and hurl the intruding matter many dozens, or even *hundreds* of lightyears distant.  These triggered wormholes always end at the same destinations, and while they are ‘open,’ matter and energy can travel through in either direction.  (The wormholes cannot be activated from the distant locations, only from Cargg’s orbit, putting Cargg in an enviable position indeed!)  Cargg is conveniently located (too conveniently located) in the mid-part of the spiral arm dominated by the United Planets.  One wormhole leads towards the galactic core (coreward), and a second leads farther towards the rim (rimward), making Cargg the perfect hub of commerce, providing rapid transport to either end of the United Planets in an instant.  The third wormhole is surrounded by heavily-armed defensive satellites, as the initial activation of this wormhole led to an invasion of Cargg by arachnoid aliens.  Even the briefest attempts at opening it since have led to attack on Cargg, and so it has been abandoned.  (Unknown to the Carggites, the third wormhole leads to the other spiral arm of our galaxy, directly across the core, but the terminus point is under the control of rapacious aliens known as the Spider Guild.)  The wormholes, like the three moons of Cargg, are clearly artificial constructs, but, again, their creators are unknown.  Most Carggites living on Cargg, or throughout the universe, are no different than ‘normal’ Earth-descended humanoids, but a rare few have acquired the resources to purchase special flights through the wormholes.  By essentially wrecking a space-distorting faster-than-light drive as the ship passes through the wormhole, native Carggites are distorted in passing through the wormhole, and for each Carggite on the ship, two identical Carggites appear at the end-point.  A specific flight to ‘induct’ new members of the merchant elite into the ‘duo’ caste occur every year, and of the Carggite billions, several thousand at any time have these ‘twins,’ that can be re-absorbed or shunted forth through act of will.  Only the cream of the elite (such as Ambassador Guamti and his daughter) can afford a second trip, through the other wormhole (destroying yet another expensive warp-engine), and gain the ability to triplicate.  It is possible that such a flight could be arranged through the third wormhole, but as it cannot be safely used, this has never been tested.  Multiple flights of this sort through the same wormhole have no additive effect, and non-Carggites (even other humanoid émigrés who were born on Cargg) do not seem to benefit from this unique property.


13) Kathoon was settled by the Amazons of Earth, 24 centuries ago.  The Kathooni have no connection with the Themiscryan Amazons of later centuries, and would find the notion of ageless women living in a society with no males (and thus, no children), would seem pointless and self-defeating to them.  Kathoon itself is tide-locked, facing a large red sun.  A sister planet called Heka, is locked in the same orbit directly between Kathoon and the sun, Aers’ Eye, creating a patch of perpetual shadow, in which the Kathooni civilization is nestled.  Heka is not tide-locked, and revolves in it’s orbit normally.  The interaction between the two worlds magnetic fields creates powerful magnetic storms, as well as vivid auroras, which provide the only ‘light’ that the average Kathooni sees in her lifetime.  Where the shadow of Heka doesn’t reach, the world of Kathoon has a ring of fire-blasted desert, burnt by the intensity of Aers’ Eye.  Beyond that, the planet quickly cools again, and another vast habitable region lies beyond the ‘burning lands,’ until now having always been out of the Kathooni reach.  Beyond that ring of fertile land, on the perpetually dark far side, Kathoon is buried in great sheets of ice.  Within the next century, Kathoon will blossom, as tunnels are crafted by Braalian miners under the ‘burning lands’ to the undeveloped fertile ring.  Settlers will move into that area, a mixture of Kathooni and re-settled Braalians, as the two worlds enter a marriage-of-convenience.  The Kathooni Warrior and Seer caste will remain confined to the perpetual twilight of the original lands, as sunlight severs their connection to their powers, but the new settlers will increasingly intermarry with Braalian laborers, creating a new breed of Kathooni with limited biomagnetic abilities.  By happy chance, Braal has an excess of males in need of work consigned to a life of ‘soccer hooliganism’ on Braal, while Kathoon has a surplus of aggressive females seeking ‘worthy’ mates.


14) Ambassador Shatra of Kathoon will be the one to introduce the notion of a Braalian alliance, and, after consulting with Champion Krinn, will discard the offers from Two-Seven and Magstar, the two leading Braalian cartels, each with a half-dozen interplanetary contracts, to instead sign an exclusive trade-pact with the Blacksteel Cartel, corporate ‘rulers’ of the territory inhabited by the Krinn family.  Being the first interplanetary trade-pact the small Blacksteel Cartel has signed, Kathoon finds itself in the same enviable position that a young first-time Blacksteel Champion once found himself, treasured as the first, best thing to ever happen to Blacksteel, instead of being dismissed by a much larger cartel as ‘just another contract.’  Blacksteel makes some mistakes, but Kathoon is also new to the game, and they learn together, both gaining far more from the alliance than would have happened with a larger corporation, less willing to negotiate with such an important client.


15) Tasmia Mallor did not get to keep Nyeun Chun Ti’s ‘Atomic Axe.’  She was just ‘holding it for him.’  Really.  In this world, she is capable of traversing a shadow-realm between spaces, so quickly that Ravin could summon her from Talokk VIII and she arrived within an hour of his call.  (In this case, she required a touchstone of a rare Talokkian mineral, larger than her body, to make the transition.  She can’t normally teleport across interstellar distances!)  She can normally shadow-step many miles without effort, and can also grab people and pull them into her shadow-realm, where they remain frozen and insensate, trapped between ticks of the clock and out of contact with the material dimension.  While she held the Axe in shadow, the Persuader could not summon it, and while Tharok was in shadow, his ship could not ‘find’ him to teleport him to safety.  She has a limited ‘carrying capacity’ and chose not to test it by trying to hold both the Axe and Tharok in shadow at the same time.  Yes, she got short shrift in the story, as did Mano and the Persuader, but it had to end somewhere, didn’t it?


16) Jo Nah has the standard ‘Ultra Boy’ powers.  I had him make extensive use of super-speed, limited use of super-strength, occasional displays of flash vision, flight briefly, and some invulnerability.  So long as his psi-neural control device was attached to his nervous system, it was protected by his invulnerability.  Once Imra rendered it unconscious, it withdrew it’s tendrils from Jo’s nervous system and was immediately cooked by the Ranzz twins lightning barrage.  Now that he’s a Champion, Ayla will likely shack up with him, ‘cause she’s ‘that kind of girl’ and he’s ‘that kind of boy.’


17) Rokk’s third Championship match was against Kort, and he wore body-armor to survive the punishing serves of the ‘mutant.’  There had been controversy and rumors leading up to the match that he had left Blacksteel Cartel, and he deliberately fueled these rumors by removing his Blacksteel branding (a large tattoo of a black sword and star on his chest and stomach).  He showed up for the match wearing much smaller corporate branding, stylized to be harder to recognize, and the holos had to zoom in to find out that he was still representing Blacksteel, and that the rumors had been a PR stunt.  His ‘tactic’ was to extend his arms, standing on center-line, and take Kort’s attacks, causing the ball to ‘roll’ on one arm, across his chest, and back up the other arm right back at Kort, attempting to redirect as much of it’s force as possible (and getting a lovely stripe of bruises all along his arms and chest), rather than make a futile attempt to stop the overwhelmingly powerful shots.


Rokk’s second Championship match was against Leeta Etsven, a slender and vivacious Braalian also representing a smaller Cartel (quite rare, as, before Rokk, nine out of the ten previous Champions had either been from Two-Seven or Magstar, the dominant cartels on Braal) named Pure Energy.  She was famous for being able to put a ‘spin’ on the ball, so that it would swerve unpredictably as it reached her opponent.  In the first serve of the match, Rokk was distracted by his lack of costume (his corporate handlers picked out a thong as his entire ‘costume’) and her serve ‘jinked’ directly into his temple.  He woke up surrounded by his people, and a medical team, already a point down, and had to argue to continue the match, as his trainers were arguing to postpone the match.  He staggered back out onto the court, nursing a concussion and seeing double, and he doesn’t remember a sprocking thing about the match.  Watching it later on holo, he played the game of his life, moving with seemingly impossible fluidity (and yet amazingly not losing his ‘costume’).  The next thing he remembers is the crowd cheering and people pushing him onto the stage and placing the cobalt trophy ball into his hands.  He raised it over his head, the crowd went wild and he toppled unconscious into the crowd.  He woke up in the med-center eight hours later, with Leeta standing over his bed holding his trophy.  For a moment he thought it had been taken from him, but she grinned ruefully and told him that she was hoping that he wouldn’t wake up, so she could keep it.  She left the planet the next day, abandoning magno-ball and working on Venus creating magnetic bottles for exotic gas enrichment.


Rokks first Championship match?  I have no clue.  He won, obviously.


18) The Blacksteel Cartel did not ‘abandon’ Rokk when he fell ill, but he was required to leave the sport and certainly was no longer their ‘golden-boy.’  They forked out a lot of money on his rehabilitation (you’re born in a company-town, and you’re covered for life, that’s the company way), the largest chunk of it spent on the Coluan technology that keeps his heart, lungs, etc. in working order.  In light of recent discoveries, it’s possible that he doesn’t actually need this tech…  The Blacksteel corporate brand resembles Dawnstars eight pointed star symbol, with the lowest ‘point’ of the star being an extended downward pointing sword blade twice the length of the rest of the ‘star,’ all in black, but with the edges of the ‘blade’ lined in silver.


19) Braalianmag-steel’ is an alloy of cobalt that is capable of holding a tremendous magnetic charge.  It’s also kinda pricey, since it’s an ‘exotic’ metal (meaning a ‘semi-stable’ isotope that has been ‘boosted’ well beyond naturally occurring ranges).


20) Titanian psi-metal is a classified secret of the Titanian government.  Where it comes from is unknown, but the alloy includes gold and copper in its composition, with trace amounts of iron.  Attempts at synthesizing it off-Titan have failed, and it is presumed that telepaths are required as part of the process to somehow ‘attune’ the metal to psionic energies.  It is worn draped around a telepaths body and functions as an extension of her nervous system, like a ‘telepathic antenna’ serving to enhance sensitivity, and yet also serving to blunt incoming excess signal.  It therefore, paradoxically, both increases sensitivity, and yet shields from ‘loud’ or excessive telepathic ‘noise.’  The alloy is soft and flexible, almost as much as pure gold.


21) Telepathy can be blocked by a combination of platinum-group metals (palladium, iridium and rhodium, specifically), worn over the head.  Despite the name, platinum is not actually one of the metals involved.  It is more effective if such a device is being worn by the telepath, to block her abilities.  It is still effective, but less so, when worn by another as a defense against telepathic intrusion.


22) Kathoon is ruled by six Clans, each associated with a specific metal.  The Clan with the most Seers is generally assumed to be the dominant Clan (and in case of a tie, their vote counts as two), and the oldest Seer of that Clan is called the ‘High Seer’ and functions as more of a moderator of group discussion than as an actual ‘leader.’  The ruling Clans are Cupri (copper), Genti (silver), Auri (gold), Lateen (platinum), Antalus (tantalum) and, until recently, Sangti (iron).  Lesser Clans include Ungstae (tungsten), Balti (cobalt), Luminn (aluminum), Itani (titanium) and Ombal (lead).  The Sangti will not recover their seat among the ruling Clans, being the Clan that most embraces the Braalian alliance and re-settling to the newly developed territories.  In a few centuries, biomagnetically empowered Braal-blooded Sangti will again be a major power on Kathoon.


23) Venegar also has six ruling Clans, in this case, defined by the territories they control, and symbolized by a ‘sacred object’ associated with their leaders.  Sarya ruled the woodland realms of Vaul for many decades before claiming the world-throne, dominating markets of woodcraft and housing, as well as other products of the forest and orchards.  The symbol of Vaul is a jewel-encrusted woodsman’s axe of gleaming gold.  Barak, the current regent, is from the desert-dwelling tribes of Mair, controlling both trade-routes through the central deserts, and also providing rare spices.  The symbol of Mair is a gourd made of solid gold, filled with water.  Sarya’s friend Landa rules the island-nations of Lapal, primarily concerned with shipping and intercontinental trade, as well as fishing and other sea-goods (pearls, ivory, seaweed).  The symbolic item of Lapal is a bejeweled spyglass of precious metals (like most of these symbolic items, the spyglass isn’t actually usable as such, being capped with precious stones).  Kator, who’s charge Kanli perished in a duel with Sarya, is the aging ruler of the proud plains-folk of Sirresh, whose vast herds provide meat, milk, wool and leather for much of the continent.  Their symbol is a signal horn of ivory, decorated with uncut river-worn precious stones and brilliant feathers.  Metra leads the mountain folk of Gardan, while raising her heir San.  Gardan produces minerals and forgecraft, both metal goods and jewels, and their symbol is both a mining pick at one side and a smithy’s hammer at the other, and unlike most of the rest, is functional as both, despite it’s fine steel construction and inset gems.  The last Clan is Fenya, currently under the stewardship of Kellen, a marshy land of endless rice paddies, producing vast quantities of not only rice, but also other crops that have been adopted to that environment, including hydrophilic variations on other gains, and even cotton, making Fenya a source for grains, clothing, and, most popularly, beer.  Their object of rulership is an unadorned wooden staff, taller than a man and recognizable as a barge-pole.


24) The Ranzz siblings’ lightning powers come from a unique (well, there are three of them, so not actually *unique*) ability to reach ‘somewhere else’ and pull lightning from that place.  Electrodes strapped to Ayla’s hand while she’s sitting back reading a book and unleashing a seemingly endless torrent of lightning will read no change in her hand’s bioelectric field and no elevation in her heart-rate, indeed, no sign at all that she is producing tens of thousands of volts of electricity.  For the week that Garth had a bionic replacement limb, he could extend that metallic arm and throw lightning as if it were his normal arm.  Dox took one look at it and muttered, ‘microscale extradimensional shunt, further study is pointless,’ and left the room.


25) Ayla’s friendship with Dox is strictly platonic (and will remain so, so long as he remains uninterested in such things, and in the unaging body of a ten year old child).  Garth is a gifted pilot.  Ayla is equally gifted with computers and communications systems in particular.  Had Dox not arrived when he did, she might have gotten to show off her hacking skills…  Mekt’s only ‘gift’ appears to be insanity.


26) Rokk’s brother Pol does not have unusual biomagnetic potential, and has the reddish eyes more common to Braalians.  He’s never going to be a Champion.  Loser.  Maybe he’ll go nuts, outfit himself with dangerous bionics to give himself ‘super-powers’ and become a mad threat?  Probably not, Mekt’s got enough of the ‘crazy brother’ vibe for any group.  Pol goes on to live a boring normal life.  Then he slips on a banyo peel.  In the shower.  How it got there is anybody’s guess.  He was 112 and senile at time, it’s entirely possible he was eating breakfast in the shower again…


27) Teh sex.  Imra is, by Titanian standards, a ‘space hussy,’ having left her disciplined and restrained world behind for a life of wanton sensualistic hedonism among aliens.  She’s not regretting that choice in the slightest.  Most Titanians, due to their cramped living conditions and telepathically open society, only have sex once a year, on their anniversary, so as not to ‘disturb the peace’ with excessive and distracting telepathic ‘noise’ from the inevitable pleasure-looping telepathic feedback that results.  That was one of many Titanian customs to which Imra has thought, ‘Sprock that!’  Despite having not experienced physical intimacy before leaving Titan (as unmarried Titanians just ‘don’t do that sort of thing’), Imra had grown up overhearing’ the annual trysts of couples in the compound and makes up for her lack of physical experience with years of ‘second-hand knowledge.’  Garth had previous experience with Captain Frakes, who ‘put him through his paces.’  Rokk can’t even remember how much experience he’s had, because he wasn’t always sober, or fully awake, or paying attention…  The life of a sports super-star.  Jath had previous experience with males back on Kathoon, and with her room-mate Kand, on Earth.  Kand’s dislike of Rokk suddenly makes more sense, doesn’t it?  (Kathooni tend to sleep together, both as a tradition to help ‘strengthen ties between the Clans’ and ‘foster camaraderie among the Warriors,’ but also because of the simple fact that Kathooni get cold when they sleep.  Their blood pressure drops and they sleep very deeply, huddled together to keep each other warm.  Kathooni never sleep alone, and unmated Kathooni huddle with other unmated Kathooni of their own gender.  Waking up and leaving your sleeping-partner alone is considered rude, because of this biological quirk.  Sex often also occurs between sleeping-partners, but any sort of serious attraction or affection between same-sex partners is very rare.  Kands jealousy regarding Jath’s relationship with Rokk was an aberration, much like Kand herself.)  Ayla, as of the story's end, had not yet tested her new plumbing, but by the time the week is done and Garth has his new arm, she will have.


28) Aphrodisia, the ‘Great Spirit’ of Kathooni faith, empowers no champions.  Chosen of Atheen become Seers, Chosen of Temeese become Warriors.  One heretical group thought that Aphrodisia, as goddess of love, might accept only *males* as her chosen, and there was a brief war over this notion.  The males who have snuck into the temple and attempted to take up her challenge have met with no success.  It is possible, but untested, that Aphrodisia will only grant her favor to a *couple* that stands before her and faces many challenges of their love for one another.  The author hasn’t decided yet.  He certainly hasn’t decided if Jath and her outworlder mate will be that couple…  Oh look, another possible seed for future stories.  Stories that will not be written!  Die, plot bunny, die!


29) Validus, and the other Validi being grown in clone-vats, was created from Tharok’s own DNA, mutated to monstrous size, and implanted with the cloned neural psi-active tissue he’d stolen from dozens of telepaths of different races.  Each ‘Validus’ was a one-‘man’ gestalt, with the power of many telepaths, but lacking the intellect necessary to effectively use that power as anything other than devastating psychic assaults (it was supposed to be smart enough to follow Tharok’s verbal directives, but a combination of untrained telepathic hyper-sensitivity and fragmented and contradictory impulses from it’s many ‘brain-donors’ drove it insane, forcing Tharok to implant it with a psi-neural control implant, also created from harvested telepathic neural tissue, which he then proceeded to refine and use on many other people…).  A close examination of Tharok would note that he also had three fingers, and sharp teeth, like his ‘son.’  Whether or not he had three toes is unclear, since he’s got mechanical feet now.


30) Mano survived being knocked into next week by Jo Nah.  He lost consciousness from a combination of acceleration trauma and the building-collapsing impact across town that was the end of his unscheduled ‘flight.’  His containment suit survived the impact as well, evident from the lack of ginormous anti-matter explosion that would have resulted if he’d breached.  He’s back in Takron-Galtos, in a force-shielded cell, unable to touch anything.  He’s pretty grumpy about it, too.  It’s a good thing the structural reinforcement fields of his containment suit are powered by his own anti-matter reactions, eh?  (My Mano is thus a combination of Mano, Wildfire, the Human Bomb and Anti-Matterman.  He’s also freakishly ugly, a mass of burn tissue and scars, since every time his skin contacts air, the other layers *explode.*  The reactions that empower him also keep him alive, sustaining him without air, food or drink, which he sometimes regrets, given that his life sucks.)


31) Braalians have a powerful biomagnetic field, and a lot of metal in their bodies.  This magnetic field extends about a meter from their skin surface and two Braalians alone in a dark room would have a vague sense of where each othere were, and even could recognize each other, if they had already met.  This field is *generally* not strong enough for other beings to notice, but a people like the Kathooni, also have a decent concentration of metal in their bodies, and, more importantly, decorated with an assortment of metal jewelry, armor and / or cosmetics, may feel *something* when a Braalian stands close to them.  A tingle, which some might interpret as a danger sign, as it would be unfamiliar.  A *powerful* Braalian, like Rokk, or Kort, would have an exagerrated effect, and when Rokk leaned into Ambassador Marin's face, her earrings actually pushed back a tiny bit, and she could feel a rush of pressure as his magnetic field interacted with the metal in her facial cosmetics!  Kathooni Warriors tend to kill first and ask questions later, when they feel threatened, but, as often happens with humans, this reaction can lead to 'misattributed arousal.'  With no need to fight or flee the Braalian who is making them feel 'tingly', their thoughts turn to more fun ways to spend the evening...


32) When the Amazons fled the Earth, with the help of Athena, Artemis and Aphrodite, one hundred warrior-women remained behind to 'hold the line,' while the Great Ship launched.  All but seven of them died in battle, the remaining ones captured by the invaders (who did include a significant number of Ares-worshippers, but the matter was more one of territorial conquest and not some black and white 'battle of the sexes').  It is said that Temeese (Artemis) herself slew the seven captives, rather than allow them to be prisoners of the male army, and Aphrodisia (Aphrodite) gathered up the spirits of all one hundred to accompany those they had died to protect to their new home.  When the first Warrior was chosen, her mind was nearly shattered by the remnants of these hundred warriors memories, and she used her newfound great strength (that of a hundred women, at the time) to press gold coins flat, attempting to use her nails to carve names into them, the names of the hundred fallen sisters.  Attempts to stop her were met with great violence, and once what she was doing was recognized, many coins were brought to her, and other warriors sat with her, smoothing out the coins and helping her to carve the names, while recording her babbling speech as she spoke of the battle they had left behind, recounting details no one who was no present could have known about how their sisters had died.  Once a hundred coins were made, one for each of the fallen, her mind finally cleared, and it has been the tradition ever since for a new Warrior (or Seer) to honor each of the 'souls' she draws upon for her strength (or wisdom).  The original hundred warriors left behind were of no Clan, but over the 2400 years since, the Clans formed and the Warriors of the modern day share only the strength of the original one hundred, and of the previous Warriors of their own Clans.  (There is a limit, which was reached many centuries ago. It does not matter that the Sangti have had more Warriors than the Genti, both Kand and Jath were equally strong.)  In the modern day, when a Warrior falls, her jewerly is taken and melted down, and a hundred coins made of the Clan metal, each containing a tiny drop of the metal that she wore on her body.  These coins include her name, and a brief couplet or phrase or title recounting her most memorable triumph or deed, occasionally in a mnemonic poem, to help bring to mind other deeds, if her list of accomplishments is indeed lengthy.  A talented wordsmith, able to most effectively compact a Warriors signature deeds into a short message that can be fit on one of these commemorative coins, is worth his weight in metal.  Warriors tend to meditate while fondling these coins, at least once a day, recounting under their breath the names and deeds of these Warriors past, honoring their memory, under the belief that if they offend them and 'forget' them, their ancestors will similarly 'forget' to lend them strength when called upon.  Seers do not appear to practice this, and it is believed that their connection to their ancestors is more permanant in nature.  Most Warriors wear a belt of such coins, often looped multiple times around the Warriors waist (Clan Genti's coins are silver discs.  Clan Cupri uses copper triangles.  Sangti prefers iron squares.)  Most Warriors 'zone out' when honoring their ancestors in this manner, and it is thought that they are truly in communication with the spirits of these fallen Warriors.


33) Kathooni physiology has changed significantly on their new world.  The Amazons were always taller and stronger than the males of their people, but the high-metal content of Kathooni has caused them to adapt much like the Braalians to be resistant to metal poisoning.   (They have no unusual biomagnetic facility, however.)  Their eyes have also adapted to the nearly-lightless world, or more to the point, *been* adapted through unknown science during the first years of their arrival (the metal adaptation was similarly something achieved through an external force, not as a result of evolution, perhaps the same 'force' that provided a bunch of spear and bow-wielding Amazons a spaceship in the first place, the force they call Atheen (Athena)).  The Kathooni visual spectrum is primarily ultraviolet, and they have grown so sensitive to the 'visible spectrum' of their Earth ancestors as to be effectively blinded by any amount of light in which an Earth-human would be able to navigate.  Their hearing has also grown quite acute (and this *does* appear to be evolutionary, and not artificial).  Finally, their skin has adapted to the chilly conditions on Kathoon by absorbing any UV striking it and retaining it to provide heat to the outer surface of the body, to help insulate against heat loss.  An unfortunate side-effect of this is that a Kathooni exposed to sunlight on any other world (or even the light of Kathoon's own sun) will continue absorbing UV at such a rate that they will begin to suffer burns within minutes, overheating and eventually dying, unable to shed the heat as fast as their body is absorbing it!  Completely covering every inch of their skin surface with UV opaque clothing is sufficient to protect them from this effect, and suitably darkened goggles can also allow them to function in lit conditions.  Kathooni Warriors (and presumably Seers) appear to be unable to tap the power of their ancestors in the presence of sunlight, whether it is touching their skin or not.  Whether this limitation has something to do with visible spectrum radiation interfering with whatever 'connection' they have to their power, or is psychosomatic, or even has some mystical significance, is unclear.