Welcome to the latest Bulletin, where I'll tell you some more about the Muryani. This is from the perspective of the Federation around 5770AD, when Chimera Company begins, but much of it applies to the Human Legion and Sleeping Legion novels too. The Marines and Navy Rats you see at the beginning of those series have been trained specifically to fight the Muryani, and do precisely that in one of the Legion short stories.
Speaking of the Sleeping Legion, reminds me... I mentioned yesterday that JR Handley's latest release (The Reservist) was launched yesterday (audio first). I know he was a little nervous about how it would be received, and, believe me, I understand how that feels! Well, it's looking good so far. Last I looked it was in the top-20 hot new audio releases for all science fiction at amazon.com. Well done, JR.
In other cool news, I'm a fan of South African author, Nicholas Woode-Smith, and his excellent Warpmancer series, which he describes as a galaxy-spanning epic filled with futuristic warfare, complex alien empires and compelling heroes. I'd go along with that. I've mentioned Warpmancer before, and the reason I'm doing it again is that the first book is free at the moment, which I've not seen before. And unlike lots of these things, it looks to me as if this holds true for Australia and Canada as well as UK, USA, but please check before download. You can grab it from here
The Muryani Dossier - Part 2
If you look at images of First Landing in the earliest years of the Far Reach Federation, you will see faces that are determined but weathered by worry. They declare themselves to be the Amilxi, one people given a fresh chance for a new kind of life, one they will carve out together. But the smiles are brittle, the handshakes in the arms and shoulders are obviously forced gestures of solidarity. The leaders of this newborn civilization don’t know if they will be posing for similar pictures in a year’s time, or will be hunkered down in opposing command centers, directing war at each other.
There is one leader who was present physically in many of those key moments, but her eyes hold a thousand-lightyear stare. Some even speculate she was drugged before state occasions.
This slight and troubled human woman was Admiral Indiya, as she was known then. Indiya had been a key architect of the victory against the White Knights and the Hardits in the Wars of Liberation. Many would say she was the principal reason for victory. Records of that period are unreliable propaganda, but it is a widely held view amongst modern historians that the Wars of Liberation took a terrible toll on Indiya’s mental health, and at some point during the Battle for Earth, she suffered a mental breakdown. Certainly, her rank of admiral, and her position of honor in the early years the Federation appear to be a courtesy extended to Indiya by people who knew in a way we cannot today that they owed their very existence to this woman.
The realization that after travelling many thousands of light-years, the Muryani Expansion was still near their borders, struck terror through the Amilxi. A great cost, they had defeated the White Knights and their allies. Were they now to face an even greater empire of expansion?
There were those who said no, and Indiya was one of them. The earliest record of a public statement from her since First Landing was to point out that the Muryani had peacefully coexisted with their neighbors in this region of space – the so-called Sea of Worlds – for thousands of years. Furthermore, the reason why the Amilxi had been transported all this way to the Sea of Worlds in the Perseus Arm was unknown, but thought to be by design. If that were the case, Indiya argued, then that design surely included the Muryani.
Indiya disappeared from public record for a decade, returning to the new Amilxi homeworld of Wutan-Scala-7 to announce she’d made diplomatic contact with the Muryani. After all, as she said on her return, I’ve lived with Littoranes most of my life. I even have gills. And if I can live underwater among giant newts, who better to establish an understanding between humanoids and six-limbed insectoids?
Indiya was back, physically and mentally. She made several more tours of Muryani space, though Ambassador Sandure held the role of Muryani ambassador in his semi-retirement before disappearing in this serious circumstances a few years later. [Bulletin note: Del-Marie Sandure’s disappearance is covered in Bonaventure, the #Writeathon story I published in the Bulletin last year].
In time, Muryani traders started to appear in the Federation. Some settled and became naturalized Federation citizens, establishing small communities within Federation borders.
As of eleven years ago, the first Muryani troopers were admitted to the Militia, with great fanfare from the federal senators who had pushed the symbol of inclusivity. The Legion still bars Muryani from serving, a position being challenged in the Supreme Court and likely to be broken.
Legion intelligence services have cast their eyes on the Muryani across the border ever since the presence of Expansion was revealed.
The Legion is convinced that the Muryani present in the Federation are spying on behalf of Expansion. Every single one of them. The Muryani’s intentions, and their military capability, remain a matter of intense speculation. Nonetheless, when military planners wargame a possible future conflict between the Federation and the Expansion, they always reach the same conclusion: total victory for the Muryani, despite their apparent lack of faster than light equipped warships. The Legion is adamant that the secret of the FTL jump drive must never fall into Muryani hands, not even those who are Federation citizens.
Muryani trade freely, the young attend federal schools, and they are now even present in the Far Reach military – at least, in the Militia. Discrimination against species contravenes the federal constitution. But the Legion argues that this cannot apply to species possessing by far the largest empire in the known galaxy, and spying on the Federation at will.
This is not a situation the Legion accepts slightly….
The Muryani Expansion contains many individuals of species other than the Muryani. Whether they are slaves or full members of that civilization are unclear. The Muryani themselves possess a variety of physical characteristics, but are always six-limbed insectoids.
Stretched out in a bipedal stance, a Typical Muryani is eight-feet long. They can walk on two hind limbs with difficulty, but more normally on four or six. Their equivalent of hands and feet vary, but commonly take the form of prehensile “hoof–hands”. Consequently, equipment designed for humanoids need to be adapted for Muryani use. Although large, and immensely strong, they are nonetheless slender and weigh slightly less than a typical human.
They possess vestigial wing cases but there are no credible reports of Muryani flying. They are, however, excellent climbers, and many can use their hoof-hands to grip like suckers, allowing them to climb sheer vertical surfaces with ease.
The heads are very long, stretching back into a complex weave of horns. Their bodies are hairy, and many of these are senor hairs that can detect sounds and radio-frequency waves.
In Federation society, Muryani often adopt a gender common to one of the dominant Federation species in their local community. In fact, Muryani possess six genders, of which two are active in an individual at any given period of time. Muryani can change genders according to the need of the social group.
Cooperation to achieve shared goals is the epitome of a well lived and happy life in the minds of Muryani individuals. They appear to seek out opportunities in which they can make sacrifices for the greater good of the group. They are fascinated by elements within Federation society that champion the individual, a concept they find wholly alien.
While there are those in federal society who hate and fear their fellow Muryani citizens, the impulse to help others before themselves has endeared them to those who border on their small, but growing, communities. Hate attacks on the Muryani decreasing. Barriers are being withdrawn. The Muryani are on the path to becoming accepted as an unremarkable element of everyday life in the Far Reach Federation.
But not by the Legion.
“Hold the line!”
That’s the Legion’s war cry. One day, they are sure, they will be called upon to hold the line against the Muryani Expansion.
I hope you enjoyed reading more on the Muryani. Just a reminder, you can grab the first Warpmancer book by hitting the image above.
Thanks for your support. I'll be concluding this mini post-season 1 completion set of Bulletins in a few days with the first chapter of Season 2 right here in the Bulletin. See you soon.