The deWulf Universe is similar to our own in many respects; the laws of physics still apply, and the problems that people face remain unchanged. Technology may have advanced, and land isn’t quite so scarce, but these new developments have only brought a new twist to the same old needs.
The future offers new possibilities, a chance to right past wrongs, and to make brand new mistakes.
What is the deWulf Universe?
Set approximately 350 years into the future, the deWulf universe is a small pocket of space on the Orion spur; a small arm of the Milky Way galaxy, but closer to where it joins the larger Perseus arm. A dense region of stars has given rise to multiple sapient, space faring species, not all of which get along with one another. Some species have clashing social structures, whereas others merely think that there just might not be enough stars to share between them.
But they are not the first inhabitants of this space. Remnants of past empires and cultures have been found, but no survivors, and precious few records. Little hard information is known, but what little is suggests that their departures may not have been voluntary. And those reasons may not have died with them.
Such matters are academic however. Problems for some distant future to be solved by some later government. The locals have issues of their own making.
Faster than Light
Faster than light travel works not by cheating Einstein, but instead squeezing past when he’s looking the other way. Many stars (though not all), have what is best described as regions of “dented” space. While the causes of this are argued and debated (ranging from remnants of the most recent big bang to after-effects from ancient super-weapons) this dented space-time has resulted in small portions of space overlapping with one another; usually separated by light years of real space. With the correct applications of energy, these overlapping dents can be used as a wormhole to travel to distant stars.
While these links tend to connect to other local stars, some links can reach across most of the galaxy. So far there has been no discernible logic behind how various stars are connected (beyond a preference for other local stars). Sometimes clusters of these links can be found in deep space, far from any gravity well. Research suggests that these locations at one point had stellar masses; exactly what happened to them is unknown.
Theoretically, one of these linked dents could even connect inside the event horizon of a black hole.
If this is true, nobody’s come back to write the research paper.
The Inhabitants of the deWulf Sector
Vaguely resembling Terran wolves, the Fenren run the deWulf Corporate Democracy, where a board of corporations carries the balance of power in the state. In peacetime they fight and posture among themselves, but under external threat they have closed ranks time and again. Their economy is potent, if unfocused. While rarely the aggressor, they have found themselves in war after war. So far, they’ve finished what others start.
Jellyfish with a structural membrane, the Sintillans have been amalgamated into the Corporate Democracy some years ago, after their first contact war with the Fenren went against them. Previously they ran an imperial state, then a stalinist dictatorship. Most see the change for the better, but struggle to get beyond a citizenship that is second class in fact, if not in name. And there are those who still pine for the “good old days”.
Ruled by perhaps the most laid back and easygoing monarchy on record, the Kingdom of Ibiza always counted on things working out in the long run. More than willing to work hard, the vaguely batlike creatures were just as keen on enjoying the day as they were improving it. Their first real tempering their unified society faced was when relations with the nearby Narilei broke down. Even sharing a binary star system didn’t offer enough space for them both. Their first contact with the deWulf provided the edge (and firepower) to force the war to a successful conclusion.
The Military Councils of Naril are almost a mirror opposite to their nearby neighbors, the Ibizans. Their appearance betrays their recent aquatic origins, and their vision is tilted down to the red end of the spectrum, letting them see into part of the infra-red spectrum. Their society is strictly regimented into organizations focused on doing one thing, and doing it well. This structure extends upwards to the provincial level. While this means that no group can hope to become independent, it also meant that acting as a cohesive whole took far more time.
Building a government in the shape of a university seems like a risky idea, but the Krak University States have done it. A culture of crab-like creatures whose core focus is on knowledge and discovery is a powerful thing; it’s a shame that bureaucracy comes as easy as progress to them. Their military exists as as part of the History department, an applied discipline under a theoretical chair. Fortunately technology is a counterweight to their lack of skill. Mostly. Sometimes that bleeding edge of progress ends up cutting themselves.
An imperial house, the Elysian Sovereignty is supported by their faith as much as their faith is supported by their czar. These avian leaders claim to be gods; or descended from them. What they say depends on the listener as much as the circumstances. Their advanced technology gives them the edge in every arena, but their war with the deWulf they have discovered that quantity can blunt any edge. Events have spiraled out of even their control, and the war they started threatens to consume them utterly.
Humanity has, surprisingly perhaps, managed to not go extinct before they finally reached for the stars. After claiming their solar system, they stumbled across a wormhole to a nearby K-type star (surprisingly NOT Alpha Centauri). With a stable wormhole connection to study, FTL travel came quickly, and humanity spread across a dozen star systems and almost as many colonies. But every golden age tarnishes, and what little comes from Terran space is fragmentary and confusing. Neither bodes well.