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The Thurion are a major faction in Naev. Unlike most other factions in Naev, they are not immediately accessible, or even visible to the player. If you do not with to experience severe spoilers, do not continue to read this article. Like House Za'lek and the Proteron, the Thurion were created as a result of a Great Project; Project Thurion. Unlike the other two however, they would not be seen by the outside universe for hundreds SCUs, only being revealed during the Proteron invasion.
Note: this page and faction it discusses are both current works in progress and may be subject to frequent change at this time.
Note: this is the basic backstory as is being reference by the developers, with a more detailed version here: http://forum.naev.org/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=295
Project Thurion was the third great project started by the Empire, following Project Za'lek which was to advance the Empire's technology, and Project Proteron, which was to advance the Empire's government. Project Thurion was charged with advancing the Empire's people; to jumpstart the next phase of human evolution. Given the touchy nature of the subject, Project Thurion was kept a closely guarded secret, located beyond the periphery of known space; one out of the way system was chosen for the project. Project Thurion had conducted research in both biological and mechanical advancement; as a result in the work in cybernetic advancement, one of the scientists discovered a possible route to uploading a human mind. Further research however was done off-the-record, and no official accounts were ever made; thus the successes that this scientists and a few colleagues made was never made known to the Empire or the Project's administration. By the time it was perfected, after nearly 40 decaSCU of failed experimentation, the Empire had given up on Project Thurion and ordered it to be terminated. In order to maintain the secrecy around the project, the Empire ordered the termination of nearly every individual who wasn't a military commander, and the few survivors were discretely dispatched over the years that followed. However, these scientists figured what was going to happen, and managed to escape their fate by uploading themselves into the computer core of one of the expendable transports. To be marked as accounted for, they faked a lab accident which left their vacated bodies dead. As the transport ascended to orbit, they faked an airlock malfunction, venting the craft of its atmosphere and passengers who they wrote off as being doomed anyways. When the military personnel came to investigate, they found only the dead bodies and the transport in a decaying orbit, and left it to burn up in the atmosphere.
The Thurion as known today originated from that group of scientists who escaped the closure of Project Thurion and the subsequent purges by utilizing one of this discovery. Although they wandered for a while in secret, capable of transmitting themselves from ship to ship or ship to station, they eventually settled down in a remote system known as Nava. Given their digital form, and hidden nature, they were able to wander the Empire in secret to recruit those who would be both willing and able to help them, as well as to contract the construction of the initial infrastructure that they would need, under the guise of a colonization effort of the planet known as Sabe. As the humans who were willingly recruited into the project of building this state grew old, they too would join the ranks of the uploaded Thurions. Meanwhile, their own descendents, born of the time when they were still biological, would continue to maintain the infrastructure necessary for the uploaded Thurions. The reliance on biological humans was chosen over remotely controlled robots for maintenance was due to the allocation of resources; such a change would be extremely difficult and take valuable time and resources. It also allowed the Thurion to interact with the rest of humanity without revealing their presence or nature, as well as to have small ships that would be unable to sustain a matured uploaded Thurion, and could travel to systems where no uploaded Thurion was present to control them, due to the bandwidth limitations of intersystem communication.
By 450 SCU, the Thurion had constructed a fully self-sufficient hidden state over three systems, including Nava and two neighboring systems, Vean and Flow. At this point they dropped almost all interaction with huamnity, maintaining only what connection they needed to in order to gather intelligence on the current states of affairs. Although the Thurion had the ability to access most computer systems protected by low or no security with ease, they lacked the ability to break into computer systems of the highest protection, namely those of House Za'lek (given the exponential power needed to crack long keys vs the linear power to decrypt with a key), but including those of the upper echelons of the government and military of the Empire and other major powers. This did not phase them though, as the Thurion were content to bide their time, producing powerful ships and technologies to drive their ships on their own, for one day they planned to rejoin humanity, and to awe them, so that humanity would eventually join and assimilate with them in a grand new world.
However, this also meant that they did not know of the Incident. Their inability to access Imperial and Proteran computers at the highest level meant they did not know of the gate project; nor did they know of the plot the Proteron had hatched to sabotage the gate in Sol. The Thurion, like everyone else, had no warning of the incident. It was only once their communication lines had been severed that they realized something was wrong, and sent ships out to investigate, which promptly encountered the expanding, volatile nebula. As a direct result of the Incident, the Thurian had been trapped on an isolated cluster of systems just outside the outer extent of the nebula, though their systems had not been touched.
Not ones to miss out on the opportunity to salvage all the materials that had been left behind, concentrated in the systems near Sol, the Thurian immediately put all their work into devising armor and shields that could penetrate the heavy radiation of the nebula, managing to forge their way deeper and deeper into the nebula, where they began setting up shipyards prefabricated in their core systems. Based on information they had collected over the SCU's, the Thurion were able to determine the optimal placements of their shipyards with regards to systems that had the greatest amount of resources. Systems within one jump of Sol were considered too risky to probe further; even the interference-damping sensors used by the Thurion could not penetrate the thick nebula, and only Capital ships could entire these systems safely. If the Incident had begun past Sol, the radiation could continue to increase even past what the capital ships could bear if they continued to probe in that direction, and it would be a waste of a valuable ship and crew should they forge heedlessly forward. As such, the deepest system in the nebula controlled by the Thurion is Rotide, one of the four original shipyards established. Even in Rotide small Thurian ships cannot handle the radiation for extended periods of time, and as such it manufactures only capital ships.
There was however, one system that was outside the immediate grasp of the Thurion, and that was Tobanna, a former Empire system, which would require passing through Tide, Sol, Polaris, and Nasona in order to reach. However, in the course of the Thurion's early exploration of the nebula, a system known as Midoros, which had never been occupied, was discovered to have a jump node made visible by the ambient radiation of the nebula, where radiation from the system Iris was emanating. With this new path established, the Thurion were able to establish shipyards in Tobanna in secret, utilizing the cover of the nebula and their naturally stealthy ships to get through Iris unnoticed by the inhabitants of Tenal-P, an Imperial station there which survived the Incident due to its distance from Sol. There were occasional sightings of mysterious ships and mass signatures in the nebula by the residents of Tenal-P and the military garrison at Cerebus, these just led to the rumors of ghost ships in the nebula told by the residents of Tenal-P to passing traders, and a number of unnerved military personnel at Cerebus, who feared what might be lurking in the nebula. As such, the Thurion were able to continue exploitation of Tobanna in peace, their secrecy protected by the heavy radiation of Nasona and the fear of what lay beyond in the nebula.
The exploitation of the systems in the Nebula posed a number of logistical issues however, as there was a long travel between the closest of the shipyards and the Thurian core systems. For Tobanna, this was a serious issue, as the largest of ships required a stop in Metsys to be refueled by other ships waiting there for them. As a result, Metsys quickly gained a fuel depot which provided fuel to passing Thurion ships, on their way to or from the shipyards. Metsys' fuel depot, FD-24, hardly qualifies as a real Thurion presence however.
Currently, the Thurion have a total of 8 settled systems - 3 core systems and 5 shipyards, plus the lone fuel depot in Metsys, which makes them the smallest of all the major powers all of which have at least 10 systems, despite having been unharmed by the Incident and having even subsequently profited immensely from the nebula, having grown in power significantly from their initial status as a hidden minor power.
Up until the Incident, they had been confined to their 3 core systems for reasons of secrecy.
Population Structure and society
The Thurion population structure is composed with a roughly equal ratio of biological to uploaded Thurions, though this ratio has varied significantly through time, up until around 500SCU having a bias towards biological Thurions.
The Thurian population count is also the lowest by far among all of the major powers, even lower than that of the Za'lek, as they are capable of providing a significant amount of automation through the uploaded Thurions, as well as highly efficient labor through the societal structure of the biological Thurions.
Biological Thurions are raised from birth for the moment when they will be uploaded and the time following. This includes a large amount of societal and mental training and preparation, as well as an education with an emphasis on science, math and engineering. However, more practical day to day skills are not neglected either; all biological Thurion are generally competent pilots, enough to be able to fly small transports, and a significant number are skilled enough to pilot fighters or crew warships. General maintenance skills of all Thurion technology is also emphasized.
Life is not all learning and training however; a good amount of time is allocated to rest and relaxation, to encourage the formation of individual personalities and to ingrain them, and to foster creativity. That being said, Thurion entertainment is of an intellectual variety; heedless merrymaking to a wasteful end is severely frowned upon, as it is considered a self-indulgent waste of resources and time. Likewise, the 'bars' in Thurion space serve drinks devoid of substances deemed to be dangerous to the body, especially the brain - even a relatively small amount of brain damage in the right areas can impair or even halt the upload process, the latter of which consistently results in an excruciating but thankfully quick death. This has resulted in a number of biological Thurions who died without uploading, because of injuries they sustained during their lives to accidents, and in the early days as well to a number who had suffered enough damage to drinking that would not even have been deemed all that excessive.
Towards the end of a biological Thurion's live, they will be uploaded, at which they will join the millions of other who have been uploaded as well. Those who are incapable of uploading however will have gone into retirement a good amount of time before this point, at which time they generally will spend what time they have left relaxing and passing on their knowledge to those younger than them.
There is a massive societal focus on the process of uploading - for the Thurions, it is viewed as a form of transcendence or ascension - with the uploaded Thurions taking a status that is a cross between a parent and a mentor, both guiding and teaching.
Uploaded Thurions, while they take a significantly different role in Thurion society than Biological Thurions do, are none-the-less not that far removed from their biological 'children' - for many of whom do have biological Thurions whom were in fact raised in part by them when they too were biological.
The uploaded Thurions take on an administrative role, primarily focusing on things such as planning, making sure to take into account the needs and wants of the biological Thurians as well. They do well to have their attachment to those who will eventually join them in time. For Thurion society embraces the idea that every Thurion works to better the whole, and every includes the uploaded Thurions, and the whole includes the biological Thurions.
There are a number of marked changes upon being uploaded which all Thurions are well acquainted with early on. The appetites of the body are immediately lost, as the artificial 'bodies' of the uploaded Thurions (often large computers in the various Thurion stations, but on ships and planet-based arcologies as well) no longer need to eat or sleep. There is also a massive increase to intelligence, and access to a large repository of data. Memories are preserved perfectly once uploaded, in the current state that they were uploaded in; thus old memories from pre-uploading will not be perfect, but any memory once uploaded will be stored permanently unless it is chosen to be deleted or compressed.
Privacy of personal memories is still heavily respected, though most memories, which tend to be of a more information-related nature, are generally made public for any other Thurion able to access them. The Thurion on the same station, ship or planet are able to communicate with each other through direct connections, and communications within systems are generally quite fast as well. Transportation of Thurions is generally done by large ships, however, there have been a number of occasions were one's presence was needed immediately and a special form of transport, not unlike the communication pods used elsewhere in the galaxy, which do not need life support, and thus can travel fairly quickly, though not as quickly as the communication pods, as they require much more storage capacity for the Thurion passenger, resulting in each pod being significantly larger than a light fighter.
View of outside states
The Thurion had, up until the incident, feared discovery by the Empire, and while they still fear discovery as it would disrupt their plans, they are significantly less afraid of the other powers present. The Thurion have no knowledge of the survival of the Proteron however, having only exited the nebula on the galactic west side.
Like the Proteron, and their quest to fulfill the original task of the Great Project that created them, the Thurion wish to establish galactic dominance. However, unlike the Proteron, given their task is the advancement of humanity as opposed to its government, the Thurion are more apt to relying of psychological manipulation than brute force - galactic dominanace for the Thurion is merely a means to an end, as opposed to an end in and of itself like the Proteron see it. The Thurion do not aim to destroy or subjugate those whom they intend to one day assimilate, for that would be counter-productive, but instead to put on a display of power and invulnerability; enough so that as others capitulate to their superiority, they can begin the process of cultural assimilation so that one day the rest of humanity will be capable on both a social and individual scale for ascension. A number of projects focused on further improvement exist, though none are close to their target objective.
The Thurion however, being mathematically weaker than any other state, as they have had only since the incident to figure out how to safely navigate the nebula and begin building up a true fleet as opposed to the system defense ships they had to prevent incursions into their core worlds, still are wary of the consequences should they be discovered. Though the Empire was crippled in the Incident, they still post a significant threat, and would likely be more than eager to destroy or quarantine anything that would weaken their already poor credibility than the ghosts of a past, morally ambiguous, secret project coming back to haunt them. However, the Proteron, whom the Thurion don't know are still around, have a goal that comes in direct conflict with that of the Thurion. Should the Thurion learn of this, they would prioritize the threat of the Proteron above that of the Empire; likewise, the Empire would prioritize the threat of the Proteron above the Thurion, given that the Thurion, if they revealed their origins, would likely only cause the Empire to suffer internal instability, instead of being completely conquered.
|The following section is written from an in-universe perspective. It may contain biased information or omit facts for dramatic purposes.|
Thurion computer technology rivals that of the Za'lek, if not surpasses it, giving their ships some of the highest CPU ratings of any other faction. Also, given the environment of the Thurion systems, due to the volatile nature of the Sol Nebula, the shields and armor of the Thurion are very heavily hardened against the radiation in the Nebula.
The Thurion design philosophy focuses on the greatest amount of efficiency and lowest amount of casualties. This is understandable given their situation and low population with a high investment in each individual. Also, given their aim is to intimidate rather than destroy, to defend rather than attack, their ships place much more emphasis on defensive abilities than offensive abilities.
As a result of these factors, the ships of the Thurion tend to have the least weapons space compared to comparable ship classes of any other faction, while having some of the best defensive capabilities, and a larger number of structural and utility slots.
Though this might seem to make the utility of that CPU use go to waste, the Thurion make good use of every processing power they can get. They provide a large array of processor-intensive outfits, such as powerful sensor arrays, high thrust engine upgrades, and defense boosting systems. The weapons they have developed are also very processor intensive. The energy torpedoes they use require a large amount of processing power to generate and control these short-lived but dead-accurate tracking projectiles, following with the philosophy that no shot is wasted, though even with all their processing power, the necessary calculations are slow, and thus with a few exceptions, their weapons tend not to fire very quickly. The Thurion also make good use of their structural slots. Even here they still tend to employ a large amount of CPU use, such as adaptive stealth armors providing one of the biggest detection-profile reductions at the expense of CPU usage.
One of the greatest advancements the Thurion have made was in the field of non-corporeal computation. While the original intent of this project was to explore the feasibility of abandoning the use of large physical computers as 'brains', the self-contained energy cascades were only capable of doing simple calculations without having ridiculous requirements for initialization. This led to the development of homing energy projectiles, capable of changing their vector to greatly increase the likelihood of hitting a target ship. Such weapons have very high computational requirements, but greatly increase the chances of hitting an evasive target.
The Thurion occupy a total of 8 systems, 3 core systems and 5 shipyards, and have a trivial permanent presence in a ninth, which contains nothing more than a fuel depot for ships heading to or from Tobanna. This makes the Thurion the smallest power in terms of territory of all the major powers.
The Thurion have little need for internal security, given the lack of pests such as pirates, and the only publicly known entrance to their territory being through Sol. Even if an attack was made directly through Sol, the Thurion would have an advantage as Rotide would be the first system to be attacked, which is a major fabricator of capital ships: the heavy ambient radiation and their thorough radiation hardening allowing them to stay and fight even if their shields do drop, and would be fighting with their back to more of their systems, while the attackers would be fighting with their backs to more volatile regions of the nebula.
Tobanna is the only Thurion system that lacks the same strategic advantages as all their other systems do, given that it is protected by a more modest level of radiation in Nosana, and the fact that Tobanna is a dead-end system, which dissuades the curiosity of most. Unfortunately this also presents the problem that the Thurion there would be fighting with their backs to the wall, incapable of escaping to another system, except through the direction their attackers would be originating from. However, Tobanna is also the largest ship building complex of the Thurion, and so not only does it have a considerable standing security force, but it also has a significantly higher number of ships waiting for transport back to their core systems.
The Thurion are lead by what essentially amounts to a direct democracy of the uploaded Thurion, who make policy decisions on behalf of the biological Thurians as well.
Currently, the Thurion have no ties with any other power in the galaxy, not even having pirates in their space, being the sole survivors of the Incident in their immediately accessible area. They avoid contact with all other factions however, preferring to maintain their secrecy.