One More Star
Cult of Terra
Luddite sect that believes that space travel exposes humanity to vast psychic evil. They sabotage ships and other tech to bring humans to an agrarian planetbound state.
The sad part is, they’re not actually wrong.
A species of six-foot long ant-like sentient aliens. They are allied with one of the five warring Dianan factions and excel at highly tactical squad warfare. They communicate via complex chemical signals (I.e. smells) and so interspecies communication can occasionally be problematic.
In the northern spiral arm of the Andromeda galaxy is an otherwise unremarkable vastness of empty space. It is only notable for the fact that FTL drives have a disturbing tendency to irretrievably break when traversing it. Those pirates and scavengers who dare their own lives can find rich pickings.
No one is entirely sure why this phenomenon happens but those rare survivors who were rescued from stasis reported twisted fever dreams of dancing and discordant music.
Blue Star Incident
A generation ago two Dianan planet-states met in a neutral system surrounding a blue supergiant to negotiate a diplomatic resolution to some economic and trade disputes. None of the negotiators or their military escorts returned. This sparked a short, hot war that flared until an independent group from a third Dianan faction discovered an unusual gravitic property of the system in question. Strange rifts in spacetime open there and one such rift swallowed both fleets.
Theoretically they were spit back into real space somewhere. As of yet no contact has been made with them.
At the edges of Dianan space is an immense “planet”. Discovered a few centuries ago, the Dianan fleet was shocked to discover that the planet is one vast biological organism. Scientists speculate that the species, which has an estimated million-year lifecycle, seeds spores in high-energy parts of space where they grow in as stable an orbit as possible.
There has been extensive efforts to study the organism, including attempts to communicate. They had some success with psychic communication although the psychics report that the entity, whose name loosely translates to “Garvug” thinks in such alien ways (and so incredibly slowly) that even after two hundred years progress is slow.
Orbiting a dying red star at the fringes of Dianan space is an immense sculpture. Dianan analysts theorize that a long-gone civilization collected the mass of an entire asteroid belt, refined the useful elements, and jettisoned the junk into the star to create this single, elegant work of art.
Nothing else exists in the system, just an enormous statue the size of a large moon depicting an entity, crouched, with indistinct limbs, the suggestion of wings, and a central, starfish-shaped “head” with elaborately detailed “arms” radiating out from a central, lamprey-like mouth.
The sculpture is so large it has a perfectly serviceable gravity. Because all other bodies in the system were used up or destroyed, it’s nearly entirely intact, and free from collision-damage. A Dianan landing party seeking to explore the “mouth-crater” on the surface of the sculpture suffered a series of spelunking mishaps and abandoned the task of plumbing the depths of the statue’s immense maw. Sensors indicate that it very possibly leads to a series of immense caverns inside.
The Azureans are an intangible race of psychic entities that can only exist in our reality within a narrow band of electro-magnetic frequencies that corresponds with a particularly vivid shade of blue. They were first encountered on an otherwise barren rock of a planet that happened to consist mostly of rocks of that particular shade. They are very alien but apparently peaceful and hyperintelligent. There is something of a vague treaty with them. If a psychically capable person who can project the right signal has a can of the right paint they can get odd but excellent advice.
There’s a popular drug in Dianan space known as lightning. It comes as a small canister of spicy gas with attached inhaler. It dramatically heightens cerebral function. It doesn’t make people “smarter” but it does immensely speed up mental processing permitting people to multitask, reason, or create at phenomenal speeds. It’s popular with artists and military tacticians, but never openly. Abuse of lightning can readily burn out a person’s synapses leaving them a dull wreck.
Teeto and Leech
Twenty years ago two mysterious aliens arrived in Dianan space. They spoke the language well and claimed that their species had an innate gift for cross-species humor. The comedy stylings of Teeto and Leech rapidly became sold out shows in increasingly large venues. Attendees reported laughing so hard they felt pleasantly exhausted, but couldn’t clearly recall specific jokes. The final show on their tour was simulcast across Dianan space. Millions of people tuned in. Millions came to a couple of days later to the fear and concern of those who hadn’t watched with no memories but an immense sense of well being. As for the aliens they vanished and their species has yet to be reencountered.