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Exodite Clans

Introduction

The Exodite Clans are the descendants of what was once known as the Purist Movement many millennia ago. The Purists left The Commune of Harmonious Union under the principle that the human race had lost it's humanity. The lofty heights that had been achieved by The Commune came at the price of the human soul. Genetic engineering, bio-chemical enhancements, cybernetic augmentations had all eroded away the beauty and uniqueness of what it meant to be human in the eyes of the Purists. They eventually sought to distance themselves from the self-denigration which for so long had been normal within the humans of The Commune. Leaving The Commune at the height of the Twilight War was seen by many who remained loyal to The Commune as an act of betrayal and cowardice in the face of terrible hardship. Even to this day the actions of the Purists are held as being partly responsible for The Commune's failure.

The Exodites, though known by the catchall term, are a complex cohesion of multiple, differing human clans, each with their own culture, social norms, habits, customs, aesthetic styles, craft and even laws. Some Clans are of such a size that they have naturally divided down into smaller denominations, something which has gone on for quite some time, therefore to get a full and accurate count of all the Clans is not only difficult, but in the opinion of the Exodites, "bloody pointless". The term "Clan" is a broad name, for the Clans of the Exodites come in such a tremendous variety. Some are but small, numbering in just the double digits. These are often families who hire themselves out as Couriers who can transport important items or run illicit materials. Others hire themselves out as work gangs manning remote outposts or mining ventures, plying their varied skills wherever they can get the work. Other Clans are of a vast size, becoming organisations of several thousand. These operate more like private companies running research labs, resource extraction, gas giant refineries and even military regiments, to name but a few industries.

The primary unifying factor of the Clans is the Executive Board. The Executive Board, or Board, is composed of a single representative from each Clan but this composition can vary as members leave and join for different reasons. The only constant position on the board is the Executive Chair which is occupied by the Board Master or Mistress. The board ensures all Exodites have an equal opportunity to represent their views and plights so that no single entity may become dominant over others. So long as ones success is borne of fair play. Fair play being an ill-defined concept amongst Exodites.


"What some call fair play others call honour. Some'll call it decency, manners or even etiquette. I call it business, 'coz alls fair in love an' war, but business is neither...so watch 'ya mouth"  
    • Lucan Samson, Trader 1st rate, Engineer 3rd rate. Orion Stripes Clan

  The Executive Board is permanently based within the Frontier, a vast space station created long ago by the Exodite's ancestors, The Purists, after they fled The Commune of Harmonious Union during the Twilight War. Originally the Frontier was an amalgamation of ships the Purists managed to rig together, its size, shape and function having evolved vastly overtime, with generations of Exodites adding to and building upon the previous architecture. Now the vessel is the central hub of the Exodite's extended and interconnected culture outside of their homes. A place where the Clans gather and do business, exchanging information, trading goods, reaffirming old relations or even rivalries.   Some see the Frontier as their capital, others as a glorified Bazaar, the rest see it as a mixture between. The Frontier is also home to the first official Clan the be recognised; The Guild. The Guild is permanently based aboard the Frontier, though also operates from base ships across the Galaxy called 'Galleys' and see themselves as both stewards of the Frontier and keepers of the Exodites history and economy. Where the other Clans efforts are in survival and trade, the Guild is under a self-imposed responsibility for the maintenance of Exodite lore and history, dating back to the time of the Purists and their flight from the Commune. The permanent positioning on the Frontier has two benefits; A prime position of trade to finance their efforts in the endeavour to acquire more relics and information on the past, but also has made them the unofficial keepers of all stock and shares upon which galactic trade is done by.
"Last quaret we par took in negotiations with the Bayard Conglomerate. Their generosity to welcome guests is equalled only by their shrewd market sense. They are forbidden to cause harm to a foreign guest, but their capacity to leverage, barter and broker trade has left my ego and purse sore indeed."  
    • Sorae Mayan Taal, Executor of merchant delegation Phaerun-Tad (Mussoin Dominion).

The Frontier and the Guild is a reminder of the Clan's shared past and traditions, its serves to keep their mutual heritage in the fore front of minds, especially during times of strife or infighting, which isn't in short supply. The Frontier is a reminder of home and everything their ancestors strove for, an idea which belongs to all. The positioning of the Executive Board on the Frontier is done so within this same ideal; it is not the ruler of all but belongs to everyone and is there to enshrine and protect the values that enable the Exodites to live as they see fit.

To many, the Exodites may seem disparate and unorganised, which is true, however the lack of more or less any centralised government is something the Clans have lived with for centuries, their society developing around this. Each Clan operates independently in terms of its internal activities and the laws employed in governing within its territory, with the Clans themselves deciding how business is done between them and the galactic community at large. However trade within the Frontier follows certain codes of conduct to ensure the revered location is kept in good order and that it remains a place for all Exodites and Clans.


"In stark contrast to our dealings with the Bayard Conglomerate previously, humans of the Triton Hue Refiners Guild are much less...forgiving. A spilt beverage resulted in two members of my delegation being wounded, the offending humans being severely reprimanded (also wounded) and the whole incident being cheered by the establishment's patrons..."  
    • Sorae Mayan Taal, Executor of merchant delegation Phaerun-Tad (Mussoin Dominion).

Structure

In short, there is none. The closest the Clans come to any kind of organisational structure is the Executive Board, though its membership varies each time it is called into session.   Clans themselves can vary from a single figurehead leading their Clan, to a decentralised chain between levels. Some are broken down within the Clan having a minor leader per section, or a ruling council similar to the Executive Board.   Though of no official authority, the Guild does command certain respect and reverence among all Clans. So much so in fact that if they are to put out a request for an item or information, its has been documented that active contracts can be suspended or even cancelled to full fill the request.   The long and short of this is that there is no single or easily definable hierarchy given each Clans independence and unique culture.

Public Agenda

Trade and survival is reasonable to assume to be the main drive behind most, if not all of the Clans. To the Exodites one enables the other; their survival is dependent upon trading and the ability to trade allows survival.   Beyond this each Clan has their own reasons behind what they do and why. The only time it is of interest to anyone else is when the Executive Board must adjudicate on an issue brought before them or even step in if a disagreement escalates into conflict affecting the property and persons of parties not initially involved.

Assets

Combined, the Exodites possess a great wealth both in material and capital. The merchant fleets of the Clans possibly outnumber any other collective of space faring vessels in the galaxy. Effectively ferrying vast quantities of goods and raw materials takes tremendous logistical clout and a large number of ships, plus the capacity required to crew the ships and extract, refine, collect and assemble the various items takes great manpower and/or technological innovation.   However the Clans rarely operate collectively, often it involves favours or trade. Rarely is a anything given. That is not to say however, that Exodites do not look out for their own. Price and recompense are the Exodites way of ensuring fairness and keeping matters personal between each other, for a stranger isn't just someone who isn't an Exodite, an unwelcome third party on an agreement is seen as also being foreign.   Much as with how they are organised or how many Clans there are, even a rough count as to what material, personnel and assets the Exodite Clans can draw upon is almost impossible to calculate.

History

The history of the Exodites dates back over millennia to during the Twilight War, when the Commune of Harmonious Union found itself at war with the Dothenians. The conflict began to show the flaws within The Commune, where it was faltering and what it had failed to do. Naturally this called into question the ideologies which under pinned The Commune and thus the wider Harmonious Union. This manifested into two differing ideological movements. One motivated by a theological belief that the Human race had squandered its chance at godhood by failing to assert itself. The other motivated by the idea that Humanity had lost what made it human by trying to be something else, that their was purpose in purity, but mankind was no longer pure. The latter, the Purist movement, was characterised by a cultural shift within The Commune, away from the enhancements and augmentations which were so prolific as to be standard within human beings and therefore calling into question what it meant to be human.   The pervasiveness of the Purist movement saw it spread further than its founders expected, bringing more people to its cause. The sheer number of people drawn to the Purist movement brought confidence to its ideas but brought up questions of what was to be the ultimate culmination of the movement? The movement has been peaceful and still fully supportive of the Commune's effort against the Dothenians, but soon its momentum would need to lead somewhere lest its energy be left to turn destructive.

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Exodus Colossi by MarkJayBee

Originally plans were put in place to establish new colonies on worlds which have previously been untouched, a whole star system in fact. Across The Commune, small communities of people began moving to the new worlds in the hopes of starting new lives and re-embracing their humanity. The departure of these people was met with sorrow and scorn. Many feeling pity for those who could no longer see the wonder of what humans had ascended to, others angry their fellows would flee at such a troubled time and weaken The Commune. Those feelings would be seeds that would bare ill fruit in the coming millennia. The Twilight War took a dire turn, violence and conflict broke out across the galaxy, reaching The Commune itself along with the Purists new worlds, plunging them into strife. Though The Commune was capable of defending its worlds, the Purists new worlds were not as capable and so they had to be abandoned. Some chose to return to The Commune despite any ill-favour they were met with, whilst the rest chose to flee into the vastness of the void aboard the great array of ships they'd travelled to the new worlds in and even ships newly constructed there, though these were few in comparison.   The Purist movement had split up and fled across space, the Twilight War had culminated in the firing of the Cosmic Arsenal shattering the Caelum Galaxy. Little records remain of this time as most who survived were doing just surviving, with little regard for posterity. The original members of the Purist movement, having given up the personal augmentations and enhancements which so characterised humans of The Commune, were unable to maintain or re-create the few they had in order to assist them in this trying time. Groups of Purists banded together for survival. Others were determined to go it alone without any one holding them back. Given the volatile nature of the galaxy and how much it had changed few were keen to set down roots and preferred to remain on the move, coming across the ruins of worlds and civilisations, taking what they needed to survive and then moving.

Eventually these bands of humans adapted and began thriving, establishing contact with other races who survived the Cosmic Arsenal setting up trade and showing them how to make the best of the shattered galaxy they now dwelt in but only for a price. These humans were able to get anything others needed, knowing what ruins contained what items and where to find certain resources or even create them. Generations were raised, lived and died as the galaxies leading acquisition experts, purveyors of goods and even military muscle. An existential need for civility and order returned, a standardised means to conduct oneself and keep the basest parts of human nature at bay. To accommodate this, the Frontier was created as a central hub for the burgeoning economic powerhouse, the Executive Board set in place to give all Clans a voice in important matters of commerce, the Guild founded to enshrine the shared past and the new title of Exodites was taken on so that despite their differences the shared past would never be forgotten or forsaken.

Territories

Exodite holdings vary. The Frontier is the only example of permanent territory that has been held exclusively by the Exodites for its lifetime. Other worlds where Clans can be found either contain small permanent contingents, often sharing with other parties (sometimes unknown to the other parties). Or they are solely held by a Clan for a purposefully temporary basis.

Military

The Exodites have never waged war as a single entity. Many Clans make their trade as mercenaries for hire, often specialising in certain forms of warfare, or provide versatile equipment and personnel to augment a standing force. Security deployments are common place. Governments prefer to use external forces to protect their property whilst their own forces perform offensive operations. Although the hiring of Clans to launch strikes against other factions or rebellious elements is not as rare as many think, its just that these contracts are often performed under secrecy due to their clandestine or less-than-legal nature.   Military Clans can be roughly divide into two categories; Regiments and Flotillas. Regiments or 'Boot' Clans, are those who provide the materials for contracts involving infantry, mechanised units and support platforms. Flotillas or 'Boat' Clans, provide starships and other space based craft with specific military purpose, whether it be transport for materials and personnel (domestic or foreign), or warships for protecting civilian vessels and launching planetary assaults.   Regiment Clans Regiment Clans often specialise in the kind of warfare they prosecute. Given the relatively low population compared to other more coherent and traditional factions, Clans augment their military personnel and ops with robotic units. These can vary from simple drones providing reconnaissance and C.I (Cyber Intelligence) providing battlefield awareness, to autonomous synthetic soldiers able to obey and execute simple battlefield roles, or even advanced networked A.I. Human Operators act as singular officers leading a group of synthetic units, or several H.O. can act as a fighting unit with synthetic support on standby. The vast array of synthetic units gives Clan military brigades tremendous flexibility even in the specialised fighting formations.

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The camera flies past a detachment of robot soldiers on a spaceship. 3D Rendering by designprojects

Contracts for what would be termed 'Special Operations' often end up prohibiting most synthetic units at the preference of the Clan performing the contract. Though capable, Synths often lack natural instinct and accumulated experience required for specialised and high risk procedures. Plus, Human Operators like to acquire 'loot' from such high-risk high-reward missions, something Synths have no regard for.   Flotilla Clans Flotilla Clans also specialise but not to the same respect as their ground-based counterparts, they tend to stick to specific contract types. Centring their contracts around specific efforts means they can more reliably predict what will be required and what issues they will come up against, as starships are more expensive and time-consuming to replace than Synths, operators and vehicles. A Flotilla Regiment will often stick to escorting trade convoys or providing orbital logistics rather than artillery support, mechanised infantry or armour detachments. This business model is possible because space will always be a contested territory, whereas planetary systems can remain at peace for decades, centuries even.   Exodites employ robotic support units aboard starships but often as engineering support and repair drones. Large ships often require large items to be moved throughout their holds and in these instances Synths are used to transport such items as automated couriers. Artificial and Cyber intelligence units are used in ship's systems for navigation, sensory analysis, data delivery etc. while human operators concentrate of other tasks.   Weapons Technology The Exodites technological level suffered greatly between their ancestors leaving The Commune and since the founding of the Frontier. Eschewing the culture and philosophies of The Commune also meant dispensing with much of the technology due to both ethical and pragmatic reasons. Since then some technology has been reverse engineered, some re-developed from scratch, others taken from ancient ruins of the dead or a different direction has been taken entirely to counter and obstacle unique to the Exodites way of life. The military technology employed by Clans falls into the latter category as The Commune did not possess a traditional military and neither do the Clans. Many civilisations see ballistic projectile weapons as primitive, preferring energy based weapons or ballistics augmented with energy weapon tech, the Exodites found that energy weapons were not so easy to produce, maintain, supply and even use, in a galaxy post-Cosmic Arsenal. Projectile weapons were less resource intensive for a resource-lacking lifestyle, producing gunpowder and munition casting was relatively easy to accomplish given the knowledge, technology, and materials already in their possession. The unknown and dangerous galaxy was a perfect catalyst for the fine tuning of Exodite projectile weaponry. With potential threats lurking anywhere, the need for weapons to be reliable, lethal, accurate and adaptable incentivised the development of better and better arms and also armour.   Although the standard of military equipment developed and used by Exodite Clans is high, there is also a price to pay for such quality. Human Operators are given a standard kit upon the signing of their contract when joining, the quality of which varies from Clan to Clan. However if they haven't already acquired their own gear in readiness prior to joining, they very quickly do so afterwards, either due to personal preference or because they favour a longer lifespan than the standard kit would endow otherwise. Veterans are often easily recognised, not for the medals they display but for the quality and quantity of gear they sport. New gear can be acquired through the many arms manufacturers and vendors throughout Exodite territory, certain Military Clans have supply contracts even for discounted items (which isn't necessarily the bonus it seems). More often though the new acquisition of kit comes from 'active service requisitions' or loot. Whether a contract is completed successfully, partially or not at all, Exodite Mercenaries will endeavour to supplement their kit with items from dead enemies, allies or whatever they find in the field. A provision for such behaviour is in the small print of all Military Clan contracts both for employees and employers. This has opened up a market for exotic armaments and also driven Exodite arms developers to improve their produce and sometimes prices.   Exodite weapons employ friction-less, lightweight materials, advanced alloys, composite polymers, automatic-jam ejection and 'smart' round which can deliver various munitions to the target. Broad spectrum optics and targeting, muzzle cameras, weapon grip HUD links, barrel computations for real time trajectories and even IFF trigger locks are a example of the additional upgrades available to Exodite soldiers. Getting such upgrades to work with foreign weapons can be difficult, even impossible, meaning those operators who come to rely upon them often only keep foreign weapons as back-ups or for specific circumstances.   Protection Technology Protective technology covers items such as passive armour states, reactive defensive systems and energy fields. Like projectile weapons, the protective technologies of the Exodites followed a similar path of simplicity, functionality and effectiveness in a broken galaxy where resources were not easily acquired. The market for foreign armour is both lucrative and minimal when compared to weaponry. Stripping the armour from a corpse on a battlefield and storing it until one leaves isn't as easy as it is with weapons. A weapon can be of use during combat and is easier to carry, armour is not, therefore its presence is a rarer commodity. The use of foreign armour however is mainly as individual parts that can be more easily manipulated for human form to bare or the extra systems and components which can be stripped out for use with Exodite made armour.   Exodite protective systems for personnel often rely on types of armour and sensory interference. kinetic fabrics to disburse the energy of solid munitions, insulating layers to repel thermal blasts, reactive gels which harden upon impact and multi-layered composite alloys to deflect or absorb the main force of incoming fire, can mitigate a great deal of damage. Some armours have redundancy systems built into them in case of a penetrative hit to seal wounds and treat secondary conditions i.e. burns, poison, necrosis etc. Sensory Mitigation Systems work by actively emitting counter frequencies to disrupt the targeting or detection methods of an enemy in being able to effectively fire on Exodite mercenaries. Some systems work by rendering Exodite units invisible to sensory devices or even in the visible light spectrum. Other systems involve affecting the nature of armour to negate targeting and detection devices in a passive manner.   The most advanced protective systems involve energy field which reflect and/or disburse incoming weapons fire and other external effects. Starship hull armour can be integrated with emitters for an oscillating electromagnetic field which can interfere with the cohesive forces of energy weapons, repel incoming projectiles and even jumble missile guidance systems. These fields can be adjusted in strength to even act as a buffer against large space debris with the oscillating effect causing particles to vibrate and disassemble. ground based units such as mechanised infantry and armour vehicles are equipped with different kinds of protective fields. Instead of being projected out from the hull of the host vessel like starships, ground base units operating in a conventional environment have an energised layer over armour segments which upon a high velocity impact release a static kinetic charge, repelling the incoming attack, similar to chemical based reactive armour.

Religion

The Exodites have no state religion, primarily because there is no state within the Exodite society but also because the same individuality and autonomy each Clan possess had bred different cultures and therefore different philosophical perspectives, leading to various theological ideals. Some simply believe in nothing more than themselves and its the here and now which matters. Others that any great creator either watches from a distance or has left beings of this galaxy to their fates. The Guild believes in the venerating of ancestors, under-girding their efforts to categorise and maintain the history of the Exodites and each Clan. A few Clans have adopted the beliefs of foreign cultures either due to a having close ties with a favoured clientele, trying to leverage more lucrative deals or because its better than nothing. So far however, faith has played a minimal part in how Clans do business internally, preferring to remain pragmatic, respecting each others privacy and Standing Value.

Foreign Relations

The Exodites maintain relations with every civilisation in the Galaxy. Their combined knowledge of the galaxy's secrets and far out places puts them in a position of influence few can match. The sheer number of Clans and their various specialities means any need can be accommodated for nearly everyone within any civilisation, thus it is difficult to compile a comprehensive list of the multitudinous diplomatic, professional and commercial relationships held between the Clans and the wider galaxy. These are complex situations as the Exodites maintain both official broad-standing relations with external actors and specific circumstantial agreements between individual Clans and external single-party actors, meaning there is no definitive stance between Exodites and the wider galaxy. For example, one Clan may have a preferable trade status with a Jourrinthian Freehold for supply shipments, smuggling for the Nobles Court or providing additional security, but another Clan may have that Freehold on its 'bad debtors' list for non-payment, breaking contract terms etc. Or the Freehold might hold the Clan guilty of siphoning off materials they were transporting, using a contract to smuggle illicit material on-world or even due to the Clans close relationship with an Exodite Privateer force which the Freehold was targeted by. However, the Exodites default terms with that Freehold or the Jourrinthians as a whole may be cordial.   The above is a typical, albeit, extensive example of how complex these relationships can be, which it extremely important for Exodites as a whole because it allows the actions of a few to not tarnish the opportunities of other, or allows a few to improve relations overall and build bridges. The other civilisations of the galaxy don't draw such delineation between each other and factions within their domain.

Trade & Transport

Technically speaking there are no produce or items which are prohibited by the Exodites. Each Clan is free to exercise their discretion on who they work for, why and what they do. Some Clans do have certain limits on their contracts however and how they exercise these limits is entirely up to them. Ignorance can be an Exodite's best friend if they want the coin but not the hassle. Others will be scrupulous and exacting in what they allow in their cargo holds. Clans will often given preference to their own produce or that of a partner Clan's produce in order to see it reach its destination intact and on time.   Those Clans which hold territory overlooking interstellar highways and trade routes will ban the movement of certain items, namely that of competing Clans, through their territory. This has given rise to smugglers and privateers who'll risk moving illicit produce for a hefty price.   The Frontier has no limits on what is bought and sold within it walls, trade posts owned by Clans and foreign companies will tax or even ban certain goods personal gain and to play the market.   Sometimes a military Clan stationed by way of a contract may themselves impose 'unofficial' customs charges for those wishing to ply trade via those routes, or even be paid by a Clan to also apply bias against an opposing Clans transports.   Such varied and difficult factors have steadily given rise to more and more smuggling and pirate contracts to avoid these issues, some Clans having no choice but to turn to piratical means to remain afloat in. Though still welcome in the Frontier, they are no longer welcomed at the Executive Board, for it is seen as more honourable to accept ones fate a be bought by the more savvy competitor.

Type
Geopolitical, Clan
Capital
Frontier
Training Level
Professional
Veterancy Level
Veteran
Demonym
Exodites, Clanners,
Head of State
Exective Board
Government System
Meritocracy
Economic System
Market economy
Currency
Each Clan has its own currency, which has a value commensurate with their standing amongst the Exodite Clans, know as Standing Value. A Clan's Standing Value is based upon several factors; Diligence, Trust, and Reach.
  • Diligence is a measure of a Clans effectiveness at fulling an agreement.
  • Trust is a measure of if a Clan will perform a task to the specification of the task without deviation.
  • Reach is a measure of a Clan's relationships beyond itself.
Standing Value is also used as a bargaining chip to haggle prices of work or requested items, becoming a meta-currency of sorts. Instead of payment in capital or material, a client can offer to put their name behind a Clan's Standing Value (known as Client Value), increasing both it and therefore the value of the associated currency. However if later down the line the Clan who has been given Client Value, has their SV decreased, it can bring down the SV of the owner, of the Client Value. This ensures Clan's don't simply back each other to falsely over inflate each others SV without recourse. Furthermore, the Standing Value of a Clan is a contributing factor of the worth of the Client Value it can provide.   Though a complex system, it enables the vastly disparate and widely spread out Clans to still operate through a unified system of commerce without it becoming to corrupt or impose to far on any single individual entity. It is even open for organisations outside of the Exodites to become a part of it, either as simply an Employer (only requests jobs does not perform them) or as a full Client (makes and performs requests).
Legislative Body
The laws by which the Exodites live vary. Many live by their own set of rules established long ago when life was tougher and more exacting, though it could be argued life is less certain now. This is important to understand that the rules which a Clan agreed upon itself and which saw it through tough times, are seen as being more worthwhile as they had very clear purpose and reason behind them.  Contrast this with external laws imposed just because and the decentralised nature behind Clan society becomes apparent. Clans often agree terms of trade & conduct between themselves, preferring to establish whats out of bounds and what is standard on an individual basis, rather than attempt a one-size fits all ideal. This concept of a personal interaction permeates Exodite society. When it comes to interaction within the Frontier and beyond i.e. other civilisations, it is the Executive Board whose word is final. The Clans do as they please with each other, but to strangers Exodites show a unified front. So in this they are governed by generic terms of trade & conduct whilst engaged with the wider galactic community.
Judicial Body
The Executive Board operates as an ad-hoc jury on a galactic level for major issues and crimes involving whole Clans not individuals i.e. fraud, corruption etc. If a crime is between individuals it is often resolved within or between the Clans involved, the Executive Board will endeavour to remain out of it. The exception is if the actions of the individuals threatens to spiral out of control and become a wider problem i.e. murder of another races high standing official.
Controlled Territories

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Cover image: AEGER by Sergei Sarichev

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