"Those of the world below are the Lambs, and we are their Shepherds."
Solaris is an incredibly advanced society, suspended high above Filgaia's surface. It is capable of independent movement over the planet and is powerfully armed. The surface dwellers only know of it as a tremendously powerful, mysterious nation that brings little but death and ruin to those it encounters on the surface. Its people are mysterious, with their own language and a strong disdain of those whom they refer to as Lambs.
Nothing of Solarian society is known by anyone who was not born or has not lived there. They are a mystery, and work both hard and ruthlessly to keep it that way. This file is intended for Solarians, as a primary antagonist group, to reference. It is not known by most Drifters.
History of Solaris
The Gazel Ministry's doctrine teaches that Solaris is one of the two surviving cultures of Filgaia's golden age. According to their histories, Filgaia's surface was once green and verdant. This changed irrevocably in the wake of the Day of Collapse, which they say was caused by the dread force known as "Diabolos." Some Solarians whisper that Shevat's heresies caused the Diabolos to come and shatter the world, but this isn't part of the Gazel Ministry's doctrine.
This history is only vaguely known by most Solarians. They are taught that the Day of Collapse tainted the surface dwellers, making them violent and barbarous. It is the mission of Solaris to control and dominate the Lambs that live below, so that they do not bring further ruin to the world and may one day be uplifted. They understand that Solaris has the right to intervene in any war and claims dominion over the entire surface.
They remain hostile with Shevat. However, few Solarians have traveled to Shevat. They know it mostly as the enemy, which they expect to do battle with.
Solarian Society and Culture
Solaris's only city is its capital, Etrenank, a bastion of advanced technology floating in Filgaia's skies. This technology allows many Solarians to lead lives the average Filgaian would consider impossibly luxurious -- upper-class Solarians might own a suite of automated servitors, and ride to work in self-guided hover cars. Holographic billboards and terminals are omnipresent, keeping citizens up to date with the latest news, the most current trends, and the most recent decrees from the Gazel Ministry. An advanced synthesis and hydroponic suite called the Soylent System provides all Solarians with medicine and nutritious food. Cooling towers collect atmospheric water as the city travels, purifying it and channeling it down to a thirsty populace. Artificial gravity and pressure fields keep the population safe and stable even in the upper reaches of Filgaia's atmosphere. On the surface, Solaris looks like an oasis of civilization in a rapidly-declining world. While it offers a great deal of stability, not all of its citizens benefit equally.
Solaris's society is stratified along a caste system organized based on blood purity. Third-class citizens are the lowest class, and are largely composed of kidnapped surface dwellers pressed into manual labour. Second-class citizens are the descendants of surface dwellers whose families have displayed more than a century of loyal service to the country. They are permitted to practice trades, or to serve as ordinary soldiers in the ranks of Solaris's military, Gebler. First-class citizens are pure-blooded Solarians who live in the upper reaches of Etrenank, where they assist Emperor Cain and the Gazel Ministry in administration of the city. They also compose the bulk of the military's officer corps. The class system is strictly controlled through oppressive monitoring, identification cards, and an army of security drones.
The caste system pervades all aspects of Solarian life. First-class citizens get the best housing, the most prestigious jobs, the most media face-time, and the most opportunity. The Gazel Ministry's teachings place them at the very top of Filgaia's social order, and members of lower castes are expected to treat them accordingly. They live inside a bubble of decadence, wealth and privilege, and they never have to leave it unless they choose to. Members of lower castes view them with fear, awe, or envy -- or more likely, some mixture of the three.
Second-class citizens comprise a much larger segment of the population, but don't have nearly as much social standing. They're often subjected to curfews, random police stops, and similar tactics -- Solaris has allowed them limited freedom, but it can take it away at any time. When they do run afoul of the law, second-class citizens can expect harsher punishments, and some second-class criminals simply disappear before a formal trial is even arranged. Though they don't have the individual purchasing power of first-class citizens, the second-class bloc is the biggest market on Solaris, and the Gazel Ministry ruthlessly exploits it. Second-class citizens consume an unending stream of high-tech gadgets, trendy fashions, and barely-fictionalized accounts of first-class citizens' lives. If nothing else, it's a distraction from the dystopia they live in, and that's exactly the point.
Third-class citizens -- the most populous caste of the three -- are slaves. On top of their normal assignments, they're often sent to perform dangerous tasks as tests of loyalty. They're continually monitored for signs of sedition, negligence, and incompetence, and even the slightest misstep could earn a third-class citizen a visit to reconditioning. Those that refuse to work -- or dare object to their treatment -- are sentenced to death. Third-class citizens live in the most cramped quarters in Etrenank, a network of hexagonal pods known as the Honeycomb. They're only allowed out when it's time for their assigned shift, and once their work is done, they're herded back down to the Honeycomb. This clockwork routine, combined with the design of their living quarters, has earned them the nickname "Worker Bees" among members of higher castes looking for a polite descriptor of them.
In the eyes of most Solarians, surface dwellers are somewhat like mongrel dogs -- filthy, poorly-bred, prone to violent behavior, and ultimately something much less than human. They might have a use at some point, but in the meantime, they're fit for nothing more than providing a source of labour. Even the most charitable Solarians would describe themselves as Shepherds tending to the poor Lambs below. Regardless of personal motivation, however, the whole of Solaris is geared toward the manipulation of world events so as to guarantee a future where the only true humans -- Solarians -- are in total control of the planet.
The Gebler Forces
Solaris feels that it has every right to assert its military dominance, and the elite Gebler strikeforce is the main instrument of this policy. As Solaris's military, it has access to technologies that the rest of Filgaia has long forgotten, and trains its soldiers in the use of weapons most surface-dwellers have never seen. Its enlisted troops have access to Gears, siege weapons, and personal-scale ARMs, and its officers often field high-tech, experimental ARMs. Many officers are also trained in the use of Ether, supplementing their technological advantage with magical prowess. All told, the only forces that could effectively stand against Gebler are the Veruni and the Metal Demons. The Veruni haven't made any major moves for decades, and as far as Filgaia knows, the Metal Demons are gone.
Gebler soldiers on the surface engage in two activities. The first is to support Aveh's war against Kislev, deploying their Gears and soldiers to bolster Aveh's war efforts. Gebler officers act as advisors to Aveh's military, and sometimes conduct surgical strikes and pinpoint bombardments. Gebler's leadership seems content to leave riskier maneuvers to the Lambs. The second is to scour the wastelands for lost technologies that rightfully belong in Solarian hands. Gebler actively tries to seize ruins, caches of ARMs, and other sites of interest to their superiors in Solaris. Gebler soldiers will try to secure and explore ruins much like any Drifter would, but for entirely different reasons.
As with all things Solarian, class is an essential component of Gebler. Most enlisted soldiers are second-class citizens, while officers are typically first-class citizens who gained commissions after graduating from Jugend military academy. Third-class soldiers do not exist. Regardless of their origin, all Gebler soldiers are heavily-indoctrinated, and believe that world domination is essential to the defense of their home. The defense of Solaris is essential to the defense of humanity, as Solaris is the only power capable of uplifting the surface-dwellers. The Lambs might think they know better, but in the end, everything Solaris does is for their own good.
Notes for OCs
- The vast majority of Solaris OCs will be members of Gebler. Upper-class Solarian civilians have little business on the surface, and escapees from the lower classes are vanishingly rare.
- Members of Gebler are expected to obey their superiors. Kahran Ramses recognizes the value of small, semi-autonomous strike teams, but in the end, he's the boss. If you want your OC to disobey orders or go AWOL as part of a plot arc, that's great! Just make sure that everyone involved knows about it beforehand.
- Solaris is possessive of its technology. It equips Gebler with the best it has to offer, but it also expects its soldiers to use it well -- which includes not letting its ARMs fall into the hands of the Lambs. Soldiers who let this happen can expect harsh discipline, and will probably be sent to take it back. Soldiers who defect with such technology in their possession can expect Solarian kill-teams to try and take it from their cooling corpse.
- Solaris OCs are part of a highly-regimented society, and their attitudes reflect this. There are very few egalitarians among them, and even they acknowledge that reforming the class system is a massive undertaking. To the vast majority of Solarians, it's the way things have always been done.