Sunday, March 10, 2013

Never Trust the S'ta Zoku

The star folk or s’ta zoku are a nomadic, starfaring human culture found throughout the known galaxy. While star folk of all ages presumably exist, the ones most frequently encountered as visitors to other societies are in their teens twenties (or wear bodies that appear as such), so they’re sometimes called “star children.”

The star folk live in space, traveling between worlds in caravans of their living starships. They declare “festivals” on planets where they make landfall--sharing eclectic, primitivist music, non-fabricated wares, psychedelic drugs, and xenophilic sexual encounters. In passing, they impart facets of their quasi-religious philosophy (a mishmash of various aspects of ancient mysticism memes) that embraces the seemingly conflicting elements of radical individualism and universal interconnectedness. 

They also play practical jokes and minor confidence games meant as performance art or rituals on authority figures and those they consider too narrow-minded. They use no currency, so either barter for goods and services or rely on gratuity. Neither of these traits have endeared them to more controlled societies.

Despite their preference for “natural” or pre-nanofaber clothes and items, the s’ta zoku seems to have access to advanced technology. Some engage in radical body-shaping, modifying their baseline form or changing their sex on a temporary basis. Self-organized groups of star folk youths share box-like devices that may contain picotechnology and be the product of a long dead culture. The star folk have formed something of a “cargo cult” around them.  

The boxes are thought to be artificial intelligences. They are attuned to the mental state of their associated groups; they emit sounds and their surfaces display changing color patterns that act to reinforce group cohesion and mental well-being. Star folk groups seldom make significant decisions without consulting these devices.


The Angry Lurker said...


Porky said...


... is an anagram of:

"Kiss Poe....?

Which seems like a question and answer session the Star Folk and their boxes might have.

Good stuff, and maybe the best yet. Definitely a crew to swing with. I like that you added 'seemingly' before 'conflicting'.

Chris C. said...

"xenophilic sexual encounters"

Now that is why I hope to travel in space one day.

Brett Slocum said...

A wonderful amalgam of the Forever People and Dr. Sevrin's group.

Trey said...

Thanks guys!

@Fran - Heh. In a way, but more youth culture oriented.

@Bard - "To boldly go..."

Anonymous said...

What sort of technology do the s’ta zoku's starship have that allow them to elude capture by the space forces of the straights they deal with? Obviously living starships are valuable technology. Where do they come from? Where do they go?

Trey said...

@seaofstarsrpg - The s'ta zoku bioships aren't as alluring a prize as you might think. Studying a creatures capable of FTL travel wouldbe interesting to biologist, but the spacefaring cultures all have ships that do that faster and with fewer oozes and smells already. Plus, the beasts tend to sicken quickly in captivity.

The Star Folk follow routes that sometimes take them out of the most travelled spacelanes of the current age. It has been theorized that they follow old pre-FTL circuits, but this isn't certain.

Jayson said...

Fantastic--and are the bioships more Acanti or GomTuu?

Trey said...

@Jayson - Something between the two, I think. A little whale-based like Acanti, but with a whole lot of other genes mixed in. I envision the space version of the leviathan airship in Scott Westerfield's Leviathan and its sequels with a bit of Farscape's Moya thrown in.

garrisonjames said...

A documentary team led by a Kinsey-type 'researcher' could have a field day out among these folks.

Oh the potential Kirby-meets-Species-style weirdness from rolling on a 'Space STD table'...