- Proper Name: Byzatium
- Quadrant: Beta
- Sector: Go'Rin Sector
- Location: Vectis System
- Star: It orbits a class G (Yellow) star
- Distance from Star: its orbit is approximately 300 million km
- Companions: 7 other planets. It is the 4th planet in the system, and the only inhabited.
- Proper Name: Byzatium
- Diameter: 8,774 miles
- Orbital Period: 380 days
- Rotational Period: 30 hours
- Classification: M
- Surface Water: 80%
- Climate: Varied between tropical and arid desert. Most life in thin temperate zones and forests around the coasts.
- Population: Just over 10 million.
Unlike many planets in the known galaxy, where one sentient species has come to dominate the surface, Byzatium is home to several different races and nations, all of whom owe far more allegiance to their own nation or clan than to the planet as a whole. Essentially, Byzatium is nothing more than the astronomical and geographical term for the rocky planet surrounded by enchanting blue clouds. To call any one of the native races a 'Byzallian' is not very helpful in determining exactly who (or indeed what) you are dealing with. If we exclude any transient visitors or recent migrants for now, there are three main races living on Byzatium, each mutually hostile and antagonistic:
1. The Dorfmen: These are humanoids, very similar in physical appearance to Terrans, although on the whole slightly taller and broader. They are usually athletic looking and if undamaged, considered quite attractive physically. However, their harsh living conditions often takes a heavy toll on their bodies. Dark hair predominates, and many of the men have beards, often to hide scars from fights and brawls. Numerically, they are the largest grouping on Byzatium. Their name comes from the word DORF, meaning 'The People' in their ancient tongue.
2. The Vignians: Also humanoid in appearance, but the Vignians are more slender and graceful-looking as a rule. They also lack head hair, not unlike Deltans. They are isolationist, spiritual and live in large well-defended communes in the mountains. They view the Dorfmen as little more than barbarians, which is unfair. The Vignians arrival on Byzatium is a mystery lost to history, although the Vignians themselves keep their secrets close to their chests. From their prime commune of Plythion, the heart of Vignian art, culture, and heritage where their priests and empaths perform strange rituals that they believe help them ward of the decay and death that plagues the world outside. They have an egalitarian society, and decisions are taken collectively. This makes the society very equable, but rapid decisions in times of crisis can be slow and ponderous. The Vignians also face many natural threats, as they live in a moutainous area that is also very active tectonically, with large mud volcanic domes and fields covering much of the region. This proved to be a double-edged sword, as the geo-thermal heat is a source of energy for the Vignians, and the mud (once cooled) proves to be very fertile. However, the mud domes are massive - thousands of feet high sometimes - and if they begin to erupt and flow too near to a settlement, the consequences can be lethal.
3. The Omunics: These beings’ original form is shrouded in mystery although it is thought that they were also humanoid at some point in the past. However, they are masters of bio-engineering, and have transformed themselves by reconstructing their DNA, and by then grafting on mechanical body parts to the resulting monsters. Once they had mutated all of their own kind, they expanded their experiments onto unwilling Dorfman test subjects, captured from their homes during lightning raids. Most Omunics wear long cloaks from head to toe. They are often well over six feet tall, and some are over seven feet tall, with some sporting tentacles, claws, horns and tails. The main Omunic settlement is the Hive at Bocasa, and is considered one of the most dangerous places in the galaxy.
Omunic society is largely unknown, and is thought to be almost like a hive mentality, with a few alpha individuals (or Queens) dominating their servitors and underlings. They have no single mass consciousness, but do display highly disciplined, swarm-like characteristics, especially when hunting.
The Omunics are a powerful foe and mount lightning raids into outlying Dorfmen towns and cities at night, but usually retreat (along with captives) before Dorfmen reinforcements can arrive. Sometime pitched battles have occurred, with the Omunics commanding regiments of mutants to assault the Dorfmen defenders. The Omunics are in theory a more powerful “single” force on the planet than the Dorfmen, but are also isolationist in terms of politics. Their main interest beyond their borders is in harvesting donor victims.
In peaceful times, Dorfmen live, on average, between 80 and 100 Terran years, but some have reached 150 years. However, the harsh living conditions, constant warfare and high infant mortality means that their actual average life expectancy is more like 40 years. The Omunics and the Vignians have longer life cycles, but records are scarce if non-existent (especially for the monstrous Omunics).
The Dorfmen have no known telepathic or empathic abilities, but consider themselves to be good strategists and have a developed awareness of other races actions and body-language. This can often help them be good confidence tricksters and hustlers, although this is by no means a race-wide past time and this sometimes leads the overconfident to be tricked themselves. The Vignians on the other hand are considered to have some latent psychic powers, but are very secretive about it. It used to be thought that the Omunics had some sort of rudimentary telepathic abilities, due to their abilities to swarm in packs – but nothing has so far been proven beyond just good communication skills and planning.
The Dorfmen have warp travel technology, although their ships are not as elegant as those of the great galactic powers. They are merchants in weaponry, and also look to expand on their level of development by begging, borrowing or stealing from other races. They are considered to me militaristic in nature. The Dorfmen maintain a standing army and a growing space fleet, although this is divided amongst their rival nations and somewhat depleted from Omunic attacks.
The Dorfmen are among the toughest troops found in the galaxy. Their soldiers’ natural physical strength, ability to withstand pain and bravery is second to none, or at least close to Klingon levels. Employment in the military is seen as one of the highest accolades any young Dorfman can aspire to. Economically, the Dorfmen would class themselves as traders and pilots predominantly, but that is really a euphemism for piracy, smuggling and general black marketeering.
As mentioned above, there are also many transient peoples and aliens drifting in and out of the space ports of Byzatium, some staying longer than others. Although Byzatium is a dangerous place to live, its general lawlessness provides a useful base for those who want their business dealings to go unnoticed by the Federation, or themselves want to disappear from the mainstream of galactic life. Byzatium is a nodal point for beings from all over the quadrant who want to escape their past, or engage in shady business ventures. A den of inequity is how the planet has been described by some of its more reputable neighbours.
The exact origins of the various Byzatium races is not widely known. The original inhabitants of Byzatium were assumed to have evolved from a primitive dog-like creature over the course of a few million years, becoming the humanoid bipeds of today. However, no ‘link’ species can be found in the fossil record and there is much scientific discourse about their species’ true bloodlines. An alternative theory is that the Dorfmen, being almost indistinguishable from Terrans, are assumed to be pioneers of early Earth space travel, but may have intermarried with the Omunics in the deep and distant past – long before the Omunics became the genetic monsters they are now. The records of their space travel was lost, even though the timespan to the present day is relatively short. Overtime, the forefathers of the Omunics did not like the way that their bloodline was becoming tainted by Dorfmen genes. However, their solution was to change their own physiology through genetic engineering, trying to turn themselves into the ultimate creatures in the Galaxy. However, far from achieving a pure (and they saw it – noble) end, they are now just twisted and monstrous, hiding their warped forms inside long flowing cloaks.
It has always been assumed that the Omunics have lived on Byzatium for much longer than the Dorfmen, and were reckoned to be the dominant species before the humanoids arrived nearly two centuries ago. The Omunics are very secretive, and have almost no contact with the outside galaxy. Although it is assumed they are capable of space travel, but have never been known to leave the surface, preferring to perfect their genetic experiments. The colloquial name given to the monstrous Dormfan slaves created by the Omunics are ‘Mutos’ and are used as shock troops and cattle by their masters.
Dorfman recorded history begins about two centuries before the present day. Technological progress was rapid (possibly with off-world help) and a modern post-industrial society came about in less than eighty years. After decades of battles between the Dorfman clans for supremacy, a leader emerged from the largest tribe who managed to defeat all others. He established planetary peace for the first time, with his capital in the City of Astia (also known as Pride City). The Supreme Ruler banished worship of old gods, and the pursuit of scientific advancement became a unifying focus.
The Dorfmen eventually advanced to space travel, and soon came to the attention of alien races – both friend and foe. Different star empires made overtures for an alliance with mineral-rich Byzatium. After considering the different threats and bribes, the Dorfmen leaders accepted an associate status as part of the Federation. However, the early promise of the Dorfmen quickly fell away as the planet descended back into war and terror.
The Supreme Ruler of the Dorfmen formed a Provisional National Government in Astia that held a nominal position over the other Dorfmen settlements. This Provisional National Government (PNG) often acted as the ambassadorial representatives when dealing with outsiders, notably the Federation. However, the Dorfmen were still divided into over 30 mini-states, often at loggerheads with one another. There had been a movement over last twenty cycles to try and bring a measure of co-operation between the various Dorfmen clans, especially in response to on-going threat posed by the Omunics. This, however, led one of the members of the PNG – a scheming technocrat and weapons manufacturer - called Mons Vor, to plot to topple the Supreme Ruler. Just as his coup was about to take place, he was betrayed by one of his lieutenants and he had to flee Astia. With Mons Vor exiled, the Supreme Ruler replaced the Provisional National Government with the trusted “Inner Council”, nominated solely by him.
However, Mons Vor plotted and developed his weapons in secret, creating the Mechus Guild. When the Omunics increased their raids on Astia and other cities with frightening new ferocity and weapons, the Inner Council were forced to ask for help. Mons Vor’s re-emerged with an equally mighty arsenal of weaponary that he offered to the Dorfmen. With their backs against the wall, the Inner Council accepted Mons Vor’s help. Only their military deputy commander, General Telant, was skeptical and he was subsequently banished from the city’s defences.
Mons Vor demanded temporary control of Astia so he could “deliver” his weapons without hindrance. The Inner Council removed the Supreme Ruler in a palace coup, and agreed to Mons Vor’s further demands. However, no sooner had his Mechus Guild forces arrived, did they turn on the Dorfmen and throw open the gates to the Omunic horde. Only too late did the Dorfmen realise that Mons Vor and the Omunics had been working together all the time.
Astia was devastated and its population either killed or enslaved by the Omunics. Only a few freedom fighters escaped to fight on under the exiled General Telant. Once Mons Vor had secured Astia, he began to expand his control over the other Dorfmen tribes. After a couple of years, only the settlements defended by General Telant, and the monastic Vignians, still held out.
Free Dorfman Society
Dorfmen society is largely town-based, and is nominally divided into different city-states, with extended families as the basis of day-to-day life. The cities (really, fortified communes) are dominated by gangs, clans and rival syndicates. Often children often owe a greater allegiance to their gang master than their own parents. The largest city, Astia, had a population of over one million before the Omunic attack.
To counter this de-population, families often consist of up to ten children. It is often thought that any family not producing over at least six children are not trying hard enough. Therefore, promiscuity is also encouraged to produce more children. This often puts greater pressure on the children of small families to over-achieve to compensate for non-existent siblings. Families live in extended communes, and often share property and the rearing of children between grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts.
Dorfmen culture is centred upon a person’s ability to make money and fight. Art and literature are considered to be luxuries that the people cannot afford to waste time in. A love of weaponry and vehicles is the most popular pastime on the planet. All this does not absolutely exclude more ethereal considerations, but that they are often shunted to the margins of society.
It is customary for Dorfmen to compete in extreme sports, where deaths are not uncommon, even at a young age. It is considered important in building up their resilience in later life.
Music tends to be loud and brash, and most popular is a form called Solid State Surge and Chemical Metal, which has been likened by historians to 21st century Earth extreme death metal music. A popular custom amongst the Dorfmen is to engage in drinking contests that can last days, and result in serious health implications for the winners and losers alike. It this love of danger and hard living that makes many Dorfmen have a very weathered appearance despite their usual natural good-looks. As with their defunct religions, many Dorfmen customs have been abandoned. The one exception to this rule is a deep regard for traditions of the military. Seen as the ultimate guarantor of freedom, the members of the military are highly respected.
Another custom associated with the Dorfmen is the giving of gifts and engaging in wild revelries for anyone reaching 50 years of age. It is seen as a great achievement to have survived for such a length of time, and the festivities can last weeks.
The Dorfmen have no organized religions beyond simple superstitions. Any earlier religious beliefs have largely been eradicated by the wand of science, and most superstitions are maintained only by the older members of population or in more rural communities, faced with the terror of the Omunics. Different nations on Byzatium often had conflicting religions in the past, sometimes going to war over doctrine or custom. Gradually the Dorfman thesis of scientific advancement and space exploration became the overriding strategic goal of the population, and came to predominate.
A favourite tale of the Dorfmen, told as historical fact, is the legend of two warring cousins, each in possession of a mighty castle upon its own island city. One cousin was evil, the other was kind. The Good Cousin did all he could to protect his own people, and minimize the suffering of the other island’s people as much he could, but the actions of his wicked relation pushed him further into hard reprisals. Eventually the noble man offered to decide the war in single combat with his rival. The dark master accepted. The great duel began, and raged for hours, then days, neither man yielding. Eventually, the good cousin saw a chance to win the fight, but only at the cost of his own life. Without hesitation he made the move. Each man ran the other through with their swords. Where the good man’s blood spilt on the ground, trees, flowers and even a spring erupted from the soil. Where the evil cousin’s blood seeped out, a multi-headed serpent burst forth and slithered away. The legend persists that one day the two men will fight another battle to the death, but only one will be victorious – and will rule the planet, and the galaxy, for eternity.
However, the central myth of the Dorfmen is of the Winged Spirit falling from the sky and battling the Fire Demon of the Mountains. The Winged Spirit was victorious and defeated the Demon, but was mortally wounded in the fight. Its feathers floated to the ground and from these the tribes of Byzatium sprung. This legend is no longer taken literally, and some historians have postulated that the 'winged being' may have been a spaceship, and the feathers were escape pods but nothing has ever been satisfactorily concluded. This legend certainly predates any indigenous space travel.
Federation Intelligence Files
The Byzatium are a race whose six ships arrived at Deep Space Nine circa stardate 2367.3.
This race was mentioned on DS9 in passing and has been expanded on to create an original species.