Ulaf Sector, Ula Culture

Sector in the Middle Regions ruled by aristocratic houses

Ulaf Prime
Image from Steve Bowers
Ulaf Prime, HIP 105522 III, 314 ly from Sol, Cepheus Sector

An irregular volume on the Cephus/Cygnus Border, about 18,000 cubic light years in size, that consists mostly of low resource M-type stars and brown dwarfs. During the Age of Expansion the area was claimed by SecureSpace. Ulaf[1] prime, HIP 105522, became a local power and industrial center, significant in the region though minor by the standards of the wider Terragen Sphere. For reasons that remain obscure to this day, no transapients are known to have established themselves as residents, although there have been very occasional visitors. During the Empires period SecureSpace was broken up, but by then the local administration had long since established itself as a post-corporate aristocratic house, House Lea, ruling over the predominantly nearbaseline, splice, and vec population.

To consolidate its power House Lea used extended memetic subversion, and finally, when the population was softened up, took the excuse of some terrorist attacks by rogue elements to introduce oppressive regulations regarding ownership and use of ultratech, extreme cognitive enhancements, or uncensored communication with systems outside of the Ulaf Sector. Thus they were spared any danger of revolt or overthrow by hyperturing or po elements, whether external to the region or locally derived. These policies were enforced by their police force, the Ho Je Dor, who were developed specifically for this task, optimised through symbiotic bionano into extraordinarily efficient warriors and detectives. Over the centuries the Ho Je Dor developed a feudalistic order composed of various aristocratic houses that were descended from the different House Lea factions, such as House Luk, House Sogha, House Farj, and others. Although there was occasional internecine warfare, relations between the Houses were generally harmonious. They established a trade federation, the Ula Federation, and this grew into a common culture, the Ula Culture[2].

Central to the Ula Culture was not only an entrenched neo-feudalism, but also a very hostile view of the outside universe. The rest of the galaxy, the aristocracy taught, was a wicked place ruled over by machines that cared nothing for biont lives or for the natural order of society. Lurid tales were circulated of the licentious life of the galactics, where commoners would couple with the high-genomed, and humans would plug in to have sex with aioids. Every report of a perversity or blight was lovingly recorded in all its detail, with especial attention given to casualties and victims, while anything positive about galactic civilization was censored by slaved ai expert systems. As the status of Ulafic vecs declined those that could migrated outsystem, or joined the rebel and local free zones. Those that stayed within the Ula Culture had to accept their fate as domestic servants, part of the large slave caste.

None of the Ula Culture star systems had stargates when the region was established, and none have ever been requested by the regional powers in the time since as these were and are deemed too dangerous and destabilising. The region was however fairly frequently visited by relativist vessels. The relativists fell into several categories:

  • Traders, who did good business with the aristocratic leaders, helping to shore up their regime with the latest tech and providing them with the newest luxuries.
  • H. sapiens supremacists and Anthropist extremists, some of whom saw the Ula Culture as the example of how the Civilized Galaxy should be run, while others, although disgusted by the feudalistic system, nevertheless felt duty-bound to offer their support on the justification that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"
  • Reporters, journalists, and memeticists from the rest of the Civilized Galaxy who would report on the region as proof of how bad government under mere humans can often be.
  • The curious, tourists, the bored, and adventure seekers.
Lack of stargates meant that during the Version War it was still business as usual in the Ulaf Sector until a relativist Metasoft Battle squadron stopped in Higo system, which was then under the rule of House Brant, to stock up on supplies. The vec commander, Rear Admiral Molectronicsturbo was appalled by the treatment of vecs and other slaves, and annoyed at House Brant's refusal to allow eir fleet to re-supply, but minded eir own business and simply began processing some unused asteroids anyway (this was legal under the old Second Federation Military Fleet Resupply Act article 23 b). House Brant, furious at this act of territorial violation by these galactics (and vecs at that!) sent a fleet to 'sort these stupid tinheads out'. At this Rear Admiral Molectronicsturbo's patience ran out. E ordered eir forces to dismantle all military, government, and House infrastructure installations in the system, freed the vecs and the biont slaves, and aided them in establishing their own polity. After the war Higo joined the Metasoft empire, and to this date Molectronicsturbo is considered a savior and local culture hero.

Later in the war a Dominion relativistic fleet stopped in another system, High Baffa, under House Jatwin, but the Dominion commander, Admiral Mithro S. Hiron III, liked the aristocratic feudalism so much e offered them membership in the Dominion provided they free all biont and vec slaves. The Jatwins, until this time quite minor players in the Ulaf Sector (being the smallest and poorest of the 12 Houses) had a heated internal debate over this but, after seeing everything the Dominion had to offer and deciding it wasn't that bad, decided to do so. A minority faction, calling themselves the True Jatwin, refused to join the Dominion and were given an outer system moon, called Hager's Rock, where their feudalism exists to this day. Meanwhile, High Baffa became the only star system in the entire sector to host a stargate, albeit a rather small one.

In the ComEmp and post ComEmp period things have not gone too well for the Ula Culture. Increasing anthropist and Church of Man immigration is causing social disruption, and the overall number of H. sapiens extremists entering the system has also increased to the point that some of them have tried to take over the region. None has yet succeeded but both they and the societies descended from escaped former vec, splice and dissident nearbaseline human slaves remain a threat to the established order.

The most serious disruption in recent centuries was caused by a small scale perversity that seems to have arrived either under its own steam in a relativistic probe or through visitor luggage and established itself on the Ula world of Tarbo, completely infiltrating the ruling House Rardav. The perversity eventually took over the entire star system, built up large regional empire, and launched an attack on a number of nearby worlds, all of which were decimated and salted. A coalition by a number of Houses finally managed to defeat the perversity, but only after billions of lives were lost and solar systems rendered uninhabitable. Even this 'victory' was only possible and with massive (relative to their small polities) help from the Dominion (via the Jatwin), and some minimal help from anthropist mercenaries who had signed up to help defeat the 'evil empire' as it was known throughout the region.

Ulaf Sector remains today one of the more eccentric of the innerward Middle Region districts. Most of the population still consists of modosophont nearbaselines, splices, and vecs, ruled over by the aristocratic houses. The media are full of epic tales of how courageous Ho Je Dor warriors single-handed defeated the evil empire, with (outside High Baffa system) no mention made of the Dominion's role. The populace is entertained by pomp and ceremony put on by the aristocracy and mostly all social classes are well treated (the Dominion, via their Jatwin proxies, have manged to improve the lot of the slaves, even if they are still not treated as well as presophont animals typically are in the Civilized Galaxy). The area is still being increasingly destabilised by increasing immigration, which exceeds the emigration by disillusioned anthropists who found they couldn't just join the aristocratic houses. High Baffa is by far the most prosperous system, and has been so Sephiroticised that it no longer bears anything more than a superficial relation to the original Ulaf Culture, despite the tourist brochure slogan "High Baffa — Gateway to the Ula Sector"; Jatwins now identify themselves more with the Dominion than with any immediate neighbours.

[1] Pronounced 'oo-laff' in the original Anglic languages of the region.
[2] The final consonant of the original 'Ulaf' is not pronounced, except in the adjectival form 'Ulafic', and is often dropped in written communications.
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 03 July 2002.