It’s a long story how we got here, but I can tell it. Pay attention and don’t fall behind. I don’t want to explain it twice.
A few thousand years ago, star-faring humans reached the edge of our own galaxy and discovered something incredible: an alien artifact on the dwarf planet, Eris. In fact, it was difficult not to find. It sent up a beacon, all but shouting, “I’m here! I’m here!” When we picked it up, we discovered a message from another species. It said, “Congratulations on making it this far. If you’re ready, maybe you’re willing to go a little further.”
The beacon also contained cryptic solutions to problems humanity had suffered for generations. We still had to figure it out for ourselves, but whoever left it for us to find wanted to give us a helping hand. But questions remained: who were these people and where did they go? And why did they want to help us?
After centuries of research, scientists unlocked the artifact’s secrets, providing unprecedented leaps in technology. With the knowledge of this alien race—who called themselves, “zhun”—we unlocked true genetic manipulation, intergalactic travel and other technological and biological marvels.
“Azikawi Drives” (also known as “AZ Drives” or “AZtech Drives,” so named after Chloe Azikawi, the physicist who designed them) gave humanity the ability to travel vast distances in the blink of an eye and within a generation, mankind left its home galaxy behind, searching for the extraterrestrial species who left us that message.
We did not find them, but we found others. And, as it turned out, the other star-faring species discovered the same artifacts containing the same message and the same technology around the same time we did. Some were a little ahead of us, a few were a little behind us, but each discovery coincided with the other.
Almost as if it was supposed to happen that way.
A kind of fellowship developed from the species that discovered zhun tech. It was clear the zhun intended all of us to find it and at approximately the same time.
Then, we discovered other sentient species that had not yet discovered their own zhun outposts. The decision of what to do with led to the establishment of an interspecies council. After a year of debate, we decided we should allow the other species to discover zhun tech at their own pace.
Unfortunately, shortly after the council formed, two hundred years of interstellar warfare broke out, leaving all the species in ruin. Historians now call this period, “the War of Sorrows.” We nearly destroyed ourselves. Thankfully, we got over all that and the War of Sorrows ended with a whimper, not a bang.
With numerous species all connected by a common past, a new technological and anthropological revolution pushed us into an era of intergalactic collective learning. As individual species, each of us grows at a relatively steady rate. However, once we connect with other species that connect with even more, the rate at which all of us learn and grow speeds up. No longer limited by their own imaginations, the collective imagination of all led to vast improvements in discovery, technology and culture.
Now, we live in peace and plenty. But a mystery still remains: where did the zhun go? It’s obvious they went somewhere. And they gave us enough clues that we might someday follow. Some believe the zhun are still with us, existing as creatures of pure energy and mind. Others think they went to another universe, a blind jump of faith that something was out there. Of course, whether or not there was something out there is another point all together.
We don’t know where they went, but we’ll figure it out. In the meantime, the species now all share technology and resources as we all work together. And, until then, we all have Galaxy XXX to keep us entertained.
The Big Bore and Galaxy X
The United Planets now benefit from post-scarcity society. There is no need for war. Nobody goes hungry. Nobody has to sleep in the cold. If you need space for your people to grow, go find another planet, terraform it and make it your new home. You can do that. The technology is available and your government will probably help you out.
As a citizen of the UP, your body is no longer entirely biological. You have hundreds of thousands of nanobots rushing through your system, keeping it safe from sickness and injury. Cut yourself and it heals in an instant. Break a leg and it’s knitted and strong again in just a few minutes.
And if you don’t like your body, you can change it! Not feeling like your gender fits or just looking to mix things up? Choose another one! Change your eyes, your hair, your entire physical appearance in less than an hour.
The biology of a UP citizen has other benefits as well. In 21st Century terms, each citizen is a “hot spot” capable of connecting to the Galactic Net. Because of that connection, each citizen can interface with another—with permission, of course—communicating via a method that less technologically savvy cultures might consider magical telepathy. You can even record thoughts and dreams and send them as direct downloads.
Yes, the people of the United Planets are happy and content. They have everything they could ever want at the touch of their fingers.
And, they’re bored.
And so, two enterprising citizens named Favo Bellon and Lucy Olenkis created a game. An elaborate roleplaying experience for those who sought adventure and excitement. They opened their entertainment in an uninhabited galaxy they called Galaxy X, but quickly had to change the name for copyright reasons, adding two more X’s to the end. The success of their endeavor surprised everyone. UP citizens rushed to Galaxy XXX to play the game. The response overwhelmed the creators, rushing and scrambling to keep up with demand.
Bellon and Olenkis had a hit on their hands.
Over the course of two centuries, the popularity of Galaxy XXX soared. Strategies emerged, faded, evolved and vanished as players engaged in this most complicated form of play. At first, only humans participated in the games, but as they became more popular, alien allies began showing interest. After a few software upgrades—and more than a few failed test runs—Galaxy XXX was ready for alien competitors. The size of the game tripled as a brand new crop of players jumped in.
Olenkis and Bellon’s next step was to stream video of the games to the general public. The public selected teams and followed their adventures from the safety of their homes. Galaxy XXX suddenly became a spectator sport. And that one little change transformed the way teams did everything. With audiences watching, teams became more dramatic, more colorful and more spectacular. Creative teams thrived while less inventive teams faded into obscurity. Schools and private trainers opened their doors, giving citizens the opportunity to hone their skills.
Galaxy XXX had evolved from a live action PVP sport into something else entirely. Creative and inventive teams bent the rules as far as they could go, introducing new technologies into the Galaxy, forcing the creative team to make rulings that would change the way everyone played the game. Galaxy XXX became an intergalactic sensation. But it was only the beginning.
The Henta Enigma
Each species made different discoveries when they unlocked zhuntech. Being individuals, each of us decoded the cryptic technology in our own way. For the species known as the navali—one of the first to unlock the secrets of the zhun—one of those discoveries was the mystical practice of henta.
The navali taught that the zhun gave them henta to bring peace and understanding to all their chosen species. Henta taught that meditation and proper ritual linked a henta adept to a greater power that gave them abilities that seemed magical to other cultures. And what was this “greater power?”
In a word, sex.
The henta adepts could communicate telepathically, restore health and vigor and even perform limited telekinesis.
Scientists rushed to study these “sex masters,” but discovered very little. They concluded the discovery of zhuntech unlocked the powers, but exactly how they worked baffled the researchers.
Many sought to learn the secrets of these sex techniques, but the henta adepts kept their secrets, revealing them only to a few.
And then came Meijemi Viola.
Viola became the first human student at a henta academy. There, she spent five years studying the technique becoming a full-fledged henta adept. And when she left, she brought those skills to Galaxy XXX.
After Viola left the navali, she came to Galaxy XXX and she brought henta with her. Using a combination of the henta technique she learned from the Navali and 40th Century technology, Meijemi Viola created a technique allowing her to sense, summon and control what the Navali called “henta”: sexual energy.
She became an overnight sensation.
Centuries later, henta is still a mysterious technique with many explanations. While Galaxy XXX technology may seem magical to a 21st Century audience, the Art of Henta seems magical to a 40th Century mind.
Some say it is a natural outgrowth of using nanotech and hotwire interfacing, nothing more. The mystery of “the Henta Enigma” is just a clever use of existing technology. “There is no magic here,” scientist and researcher Jacob Ransen wrote. “Henta is a true physical phenomenon. We see it, we can learn it, we can use it. But it is a mistake to ascribe mysticism to mystery. Just because we don’t know how it works doesn’t mean we won’t figure it out someday.”
On the other hand, others believe henta is a meditative technique that allows us to communicate with the vanished Forerunner race. They belive the Forerunners uplifted themselves into beings of pure energy and the use of henta gives us a glimpse of the kind of power they command. “The Forerunners are still with us,” they say, “waiting for us to join them.”
When Viola brought henta to Galaxy XXX, Bellon and Olenkis called for an immediate investigation. During their review, they ran bioscans on both her and her targets. Essentially, she was causing extreme orgasms in her targets.
With all the wetware running in a 44th Century body, a henta-induced orgasm is the most disruptive event a body can endure. Most wetware focused on eliminating pain and discomfort, at least downplaying it, but pleasure was something else entirely. Most citizens used wetware that increased sexual pleasure. Using the wetware against itself, Viola overwhelmed her target’s enhanced biology, turning their own bodies into traps.
As her career continued, Meijemi Viola found new and more spectacular ways of using her “henta powers.” When others wished to learn them, she taught them not only the powers but also the philosophy of henta. Many dismissed both her and her philosophy as a quaint and antiquated religion, but others embraced it. Many followed in her footsteps, sometimes as pale shadows, and other times offering innovation and invention. Meijemi’s celebrity led to a wave of new Galaxy XXX Academies, all teaching the “Henta Technique.” After a few centuries, henta powers have become an integral part of the games. Most audience members could not even imagine the games without them.
Galaxy XXX Rules
Over the centuries, the rules for Galaxy XXX have undergone many changes. The current set of rules can be boiled down to a few key principles.
No Real Weapons
Only weapons sanctioned by GX Rules Team are allowed. These are generally energy weapons, or “stunguns,” that do non-lethal damage. In fact, they don’t do “damage” at all. Instead, the stunguns used in GX do the reverse of damage: they overwhelm your nervous system with pleasure, forcing you into a sweet, delirious state of unconsciousness.
Fisticuffs are right out as well. Players can acquire special gauntlets that deliver the equivalent of a “stun punch.” Same effect as a stungun.
Ships used in GX do not have real weapons, either. Instead, each ship has “hot spots” representing critical systems and weapons designed to disable them. The shots done from ship-to-ship do not actually damage the ship, but temporarily disable the systems. Life-support is not a targetable system, but weapons, communications, artificial gravity and propulsion are.
Galaxy XXX has a Leaderboard that keeps track of both team and individual scores. Because GX is a PVP environment, teams and individuals score points by defeating opposing teams and accomplishing quests put out by the Game Organizers (GOs).
Defeating opposing teams is worth points. So is capturing the team and taking them back to your Safe Zone. But if a team escapes before you can get to the Safe Zone, they gain points. Completing Game Quests also earns players points.
Players use points to purchase additional equipment and upgrade existing equipment.
Players can also earn Achievements that add to their place on the GXXX Leaderboards.
While there are individuals running around GX3, most players form teams. A team can consist of up to 6 players. Teams can pool points for equipment purchases and generally have a better chance of scoring points in the first place. After all, there’s safety (and advantage) in numbers.
Each team has a “home base” where they store equipment, keep their ships and return objectives. Most capture missions require the team return the captured materials (or persons) to their home base. Also, the home base acts as a safe zone: no attacks on home base.
Injuries and Fatalities
While injuries are inevitable in a PVP action environment, the enhanced biologies of the players allow for quick healing and recovery. Most minor injuries heal in seconds. Even more serious ones—such as a broken bone—can be mended in a few minutes.
If a player is grievously injured, he is considered “Out of Play” and other players should not engage her until she is ready to return.
Fatalities are rare, but they do occur. The point of the games is not to kill enemies, of course, but every once in a while, accidents happen. If a player dies, the game stops. All current actions are cancelled and both teams return to home base.
Species who have not discovered forerunner tech are generally not allowed to play GX3. There have been exceptions, but those who do must undergo rigorous medical procedures to bring their biology up to speed.