Located in a relatively isolated part of the Milky Way, Arhkod (RS 8409-2690-7-1179924-148 4, 9.7.3) was discovered by human probes sent as part of the 7th galactic reconaissance operation in 8316 CE. A large, exotic-looking oceania, the planet attracted mankind’s curiosity due to an unusually large quantity of low-frequency emissions, seemingly emanating from Arhkod’s world ocean. While originally dismissed as mere abyssopelagic volcanic activity, the analyzed signals were later understood to be of organic origins. Indeed, the planet is home to the Arhkodian civilization, a species of relatively small and delicately built (yet graceful) creatures, who have established dozens of large underwater cities, which appears to offer every amenity necessary for immediate comfort and long-term development.
As a rather primitive Late Type 0 civilization, Arhkodia’s denizens have yet to send any sort of probes further than low planetary orbit, although recent technological developments seem to indicate impending breakthroughs in the domain. As such, in light of the species rather limited understanding of the universe’s laws and realities, no contact has been established with the Arhkodians, although thorough studies of their society and infrastructures have been carried out by mankind through various non-intrusive methods.
Located around 44 000 ly from Earth, Arhkod is part of a relatively large system dominated by binary stars, both orange dwarves, around which also orbits 9 other planets, none of which appears to bear life. With a diameter of 22 620 km, Arhkod's surface is entirely covered by a world ocean, whose powerful currents seem to influence an already accelerated water cycle, in what appears to be a rather warm environment with a substantial greenhouse effect. The results of this are powerful and violent storm cells which constantly saturates the Arhkodian skies, in what is considered to be an unstable and treacherous climate.
Orbiting the planet are 4 moons, of which one can be considered 'major', the other 3 most likely being captured asteroids. The larger moon, Gohrak (as named by Arhkod's indigenous populations), appears to be a lifeless and unexplored desert with a diameter of 7158 km. Circling Arhkod's position at a distance of 145 000 km, the natural satellite appears to affect the planet's ocean, further agitating the latter. With an age of 9.94 billion years, the system is quite ancient, which has allowed life on Arhkod to develop in a wide range of forms.
Life on Arhkod
While the planet's climate may seem unsuitable for life at first glance, Arhkod's world ocean appears to be replete with lifeforms of all sorts, from simpler microscopic organisms to more imposing, and dangerous species. In the year of its discovery alone, over 1500 different lifeforms have been described, divided among 3 distinct kingdoms. From the colorful Prihknak, whose iridescent hard-shelled back has nothing to envy to Earth's biota, to the ferocious Lahnarik, a colossal predator reminiscent of Earth's plesiosauroidea, nature has once again accomplished the impossible by creating, nurturing and maintaining a delicately balanced environment, whose wonders can be freely admired by all.
Yet, amongst this abundance of life, it appears that one species has effectively gained the upper hand. Indeed, the Arhkodian species has managed to survive and develop against all odds for several million years, spreading to every corner of the world ocean while slowly developing a complex civilization, characterized by unrestrained violence and blatant disregard for other lifeforms.
The Arhkodian civilization
Although far from physically imposing, the Arhkodian species is by all accounts brilliantly equipped for success in an environment where larger predators abound. Carefully analyzed, Arhkodian DNA has yielded much information on the species past and present. Branching off a more primitive species (referred to as Pre-Arhkodians) around 4.5 million years ago, the Arhkodians' earliest ancestors appear to have developed in the planet's southern hemisphere over a relatively long period of time. This fact is further attested by recent archeological discoveries of what is believed to be the current species' most recent common ancestor (MRCA), dated at 340 000 years. Further studies of Arhkod's oldest settlements have also corroborated these informations.
Regardless, it has become clear that Arhkod's civilization has not evolved by chance, but rather through systematic use of violence against itself and other indigenous lifeforms. Starting some 300 000 years ago, vicious conflicts have consistently divided the Arhkodian populations over innumerable questions, often trivial in nature. Interestingly, Arhkodian accounts also describe in great details the rise and subsequent fall of an ancient empire, whose technological advances were said to rival those of modern Arhkodia. Indeed, silt deposits in described areas appear to hold unusual quantities of elements usually associated with industrial pollution, dated at 175 000 years.
Arhkodian government structure
As one could expect, Arhkodia's peculiar philosophical and ethical stances has permeated the structures of its social organization. Indeed, the planet is currently divided under three distinct banners, all keen on expanding regardless of the consequences. The first and foremost of these nations, Kohdeon, is a large empire dominated by a ruthless, yet somewhat just dictatorship, 'Kohdeon's Masses'. The latter was established around 130 years ago in the midst of a civil war, emerging victorious in a chaotic political and social landscape through the physical destruction of its opposition. Autocratic in nature, the regime is lead solely through the realization of its leader's vision. The supreme office of 'Dictator of Kohdeon's Masses' is currently held by Tohrvan Fahrek, who has lead Kohdeon for 21 years in spite of internal dissension.
Unsurprisingly, the other two nations appear to function under largely similar systems, although new ideas seem to be developing in light of a civil war currently raging in Pahlod, the planet's third and smallest nation. Indeed, a splinter group (originating from the nation's legitimate government) has elaborated complex schemes to destabilize and ultimately destroy both sides' leaderships, in hopes of creating a new regime, purported to herald the birth of a 'purer' Arhkodian civilization. With little interference from Arhkod's other nations, this conflict will most surely last for several decades more, and may hold dire consequences for the Arhkodian civilization, providing the triumph of the radicalized group previously mentioned.
(To be completed)