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Sunday, March 17, 2013
A Cold War
The moon Boreas is covered by an ocean eternally sheathed in ice. Though this environment is harsh, a blue-skinned humanoid people called uldra have made the mood their own. With few exceptions, the uldra have built their settlements beneath the surface of the insulating ice, exploiting the sunless seas. At some point, the uldra city-states discovered they weren’t alone: there were monsters in the depths. That was when the war began.
Given the average thickness of the planetary ice sheet, the only source of energy in much of the ocean are deep sea volcanic vents. All sorts of life are found in the oases surrounding them, including a life form unique to Boreas: sapient organisms called “cold minds.” The cold minds are vaguely like colonies of coral, sometimes extending for miles. Their intelligence is adapted for their colder, less energetic environment; their thought processes are laboriously slow compared to humans. it took them decades to decide what to do about the invaders on their world and decades more to formulate their counterstrike.
Decades ago, the uldra city-states warred against each other. They grew bioroid sea beasts as terror weapons. While not all of the warbeasts were accounted for at the end of the conflict, they had been built with a failsafe: They ceased function if they didn’t receive periodic treatments of certain chemicals. It came as a shock then, when warbeasts began attacking again-- and wouldn’t obey any of the emergency halt codes.
Tensions flared and there were accusations that one city-state or another was responsible. Only after after parasitic organisms were found in the nervous systems of the recently dead that rose to attack their horrified fellows, did the uldra suspect they had another enemy.
And so the war goes on. Uldra rangers are vigilant for attacks of war beasts or undead and exotic, weaponized sea life native to the Boreal ocean. They have destroyed cold minds at times, but the oceans are dark and deep, and the their enemies too dispersed and resilient.
Some uldra have suggested attempts at negotiation, but even if they could find a way to communicate with the slow cold minds, it could be generations before they reached any meaningful dialog.