Space Stage: ongoing


It was a time of unprecedented unity for the interplanetary coalition called Trust. Headlines across the galaxy made known the joys of new found prosperity and peace. Meanwhile, articles buried on page sixty whispered of disappearances and a traitorous influence. Buria was the seventeenth planet to join Trust. From space it glowed like a tiger's eye gemstone suspended in a soft black matrix. Within its atmosphere the planet sweltered 36 hours a day. At one time, Buria had been lush with plant life. In a few short decades it had been stripped of 80 percent of its greenery. The burning nature of the planet seemed to seep into the blood of the people.

For centuries the Murodeans had wandered Buria's sandy plains. They preferred to travel at night, their red eyes beaming like distant stars. During their endless skirmishes with the cold blooded, reptilian Squamatians, their eyes seemed to reflect the metallic tint of the blood spilled on the grainy terrain. Entrance into Trust had ended a decade long war. Headlines trumpeted another success of Trust. History books would report that they were headed to destroy each other until Trust unified them and brought peace as it had done for sixteen planets before.

Most Burian citizens had been appeased by the money offered to new members of the Coalition rather than any sense of interplanetary solidarity. The contract led to an influx of intelligent life previously unknown on the planet. The Burians and the immigrants knew little about each other and few tried to learn more. The same year Trust instituted Space Stage as the greatest competition of physical and mental fitness in combination with interplanetary festivities ever known. Each game was hosted by a different planet and broadcast live across all planets. It was a brilliantly successful gambit leveraging the competitiveness and pride of the individual planets to compel camaraderie and loyalty to Trust through sensational shared experiences.

Even as Trust struggled to educate the members of their association with interplanetary broadcasts, they were undermined from within. The ones most responsible for Trust were too noble minded to believe in any deceit on the part of their fellow civil servants. Yet, on most planets unity with Trust was little more than a contractual agreement. In most nations, unease, distrust and fear of the minority was common. Especially as the minority groups became an ever more diverse and large population due to Trust's support. Older member nations that were more established in the coalition had waves of intolerance that had to be periodically corrected. Planets that were new to Trust were generally the most ignorant of foreign beings and also suffered waves of hostility toward immigrants. New member planets were strongly encouraged to grant citizenship to immigrating members.

It was Buria's designation as the newest to join Trust that made traveling to it the easiest. Its ignorance of foreign beings made it easier for a young couple, forbidden by the code of their respective nations to marry, to believe they could start a family. On Buria the glittering gray skinned young man and his striking young partner; a female completely covered in fine, dark silken hair with piercing large brown eyes and feline tail, received strange looks. However, these looks had to do with curiosity about the appearance of life forms they had never seen before rather than disapproval. Small communities mostly of Aq'minians, Perans and Laxodonians developed, but these two were the only ones of their kind to settle on Buria.

Unexpectedly, the birth of the couple's first child (the type of child the code of their societies forbade) gave them their one chance to return home. They had assumed they would return with their daughter. Nevertheless, in a galaxy complex enough to house Trust determined for total galactic unity and ancient isolated worlds systematically resistant to change, life happens rapidly and unexpectedly like the growth of a child. That was nearly twenty years ago.