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History And Settlement

In Databanks of Old
The colossal mass driver which the TSN encountered during their assault was not merely a weapon, although it was used as such during the fighting. Its purpose was to accelerate interstellar probes to significant c-fractional velocities. The Kriak had been firing these probes at stars both near and far for thousands of years. Fitted with immense reserves of tangle and long duration nuclear power plants, these devices were programmed to assume long solar orbits of their target stars. Upon arrival, each probe gathers a snapshot of the system, noting the size, mass, position, and radiation of each body. The data from these myriad probes is transmitted to the Archive. The massive tangle reservoir and data archives of the Core are concealed under the ice of an outer plutoid, a location chosen to ease cooling and limit the likelihood of meteorite strikes.The Kriak controllers may ask any probe for a current snapshot as they wish, however to preserve tangle the monks may go centuries between querying the long-lived probes. The Kriak monks who administer the archive have slept away the centuries as did their dockworker brethren, undisturbed until awoken by the An’Brik. The timing was fortuitous as their icy enclave once again approached the inner system, the traditional herald for the time of ship building, tale telling, and reunion amongst the clans.

At this time, the monks of the Archive have basic data on every star system within about six hundred light years of TokCalahk. Many of their probes have survived centuries and millennia adrift, and could be queried for an updated picture. At the very least, the historical data would be a great boon to Terran surveying efforts. At best, still active probes might have current data on the Shohan homeworlds.

There are many clans of Kriak roaming the starways, each with their own unique history. Carefully tracing these histories shows the times and places when clans grew large, and split in two. Others detail the end of clans that have failed to survive. For three clans, their histories all intertwined at TokCalahk. For uncounted millenia prior to the Second Crusade, these three clans would return to the system and to the Shipyards they had founded there. While the Kriak have ever been a nomadic people, in so far as they staked a claim to any system TokCalahk was theirs. It was a place the three clans would return to time and again over the course of their history to make repairs and commission new ships from its ancient shipyards. To be chosen to be a dockworker was a great honor, even though it meant sleeping away centuries in hibernation while awaiting the return of one fleet or another. The dockworkers became mythic figures among the three clans, living links to revered ancestors, and the parents of the ships that were their very lives. To the Kriak, it must have seemed eternal, yet its end came during the war the Terran Sphere called the Second Crusade.

During the crusade, the TSN expeditionary force went to TokCalahk because their reconnaissance identified the system as a major Kriak base. In the words of one Kriak historian/storyteller: “They did not truly realize where they flew. Where they dared intrude. Fighting was intense throughout the system as fleets clashed against fleets, but the Terrans with their witches and their witch-drive ultimately triumphed. When the Chosen of the Gods fell, and her ship died under Terran fire, the back of the Crusade was broken. It would be years before the fighting truly ended, but end began at TokCalahk.” In the looting after their victory, however, the TSN failed to uncover the reason that the normally nomadic Kriak defended the system with three clanships and their fleets. Even beyond the storied shipyards, the far reaches of the system was home to what the Three Clans called “The Eyes Upon The Universe” and its attendant Archive. The TSN probes and vessels which arrived at the grav shore were all immediately drawn to the swarms of activity in system, dismissing the outer plutoids and other Oort Cloud bodies with barely a glance.

The treaty that officially ended the second crusade required that all parties abandon TokCalahk. The Terran Sphere wanted to keep the Kriak from restarting their shipyards and building more raider fleets. The Kriak saw their holy system turned into a graveyard, and wished to keep it undefiled. Although as the victors of the conflict, the Terran Sphere might have pushed to claim TokCalahk, they had numerous nearby systems of greater interest, and so accepted the terms.

The An’Brik, Te’mok, and Zis’mu clans were all but annihilated in that crusade, their clan ships lost. Ejected by an expansionist Terran Sphere, they eked out a living over the decades by trading with other Kriak and anyone else willing. Extensive trade among themselves has merged the clans in all but name, to the point that most of their young have an out of clan parent.

Then, the War broke out, and the Terran Sphere was distracted.

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