Aboard the Lux Araphelinus Type Dreadnaught “The Thirteenth Hour,” at the heart of the Command Center…
Lux Command Center Architecture
This is one of two typical structures for a Lux Command Center but the general architecture is similar for either format. This approach is called Sanctum and operates as a series of smaller, interconnected command rooms. Each room has a specific function with one room being dedicated to the highest ranking officer and her handpicked command crew. This room serves as the hub which coordinates the actions of the other rooms. In it, we see the central platform from which the Commander issues her orders and keeps an eye on everything via a series of interactive holographic displays. The platform hovers several feet above the floor and is held in position with gravitic anchors. Surrounding the Commander’s Station is a grav-halo topped with a walkway and ringed with several Operation Stations manned by expert pilots chosen usually from the ranks of the Paladin Corps. These ops crew man the various stations lining the outer wall as well. A freemoving first officer helps to oversee ops within the room. Two guards are stationed at the rear of the command module on either side of the egress. The Commander herself is afforded an unobstructed view of the forward viewport, which typically overlooks the topdeck and bow of the vessel. Occasionally, an advisor will be present somewhere on the central command deck.
The Lux have several methods of communication available to them. The first is the normal technological variety, which is the most common method employed. Most routine comm traffic is handled this way as a means to conserve energy. The second is through the use of Spirits. Since Spirits have the ability to teleport, like Angels themselves, and are not affected by material issues, they can deliver messages near instantaneously, at long distances, and in dangerous situations. The third method is through short form telepathy. Only the Angels themselves are currently able to reliably use this method but there have been promising new studies in the field of psioniks which might unlock the potential ability in Paladins. Long contact between two Lux using this ability is mentally draining and the range at which it is usable isn’t terribly long but the benefits are extraordinary. It’s the fastest form of communication possible and it comes pre-loaded with context and understanding. In other words, miscommunication very rarely occurs and the information is able to be acted upon without hesitation or any need for clarification. This type of communication is typically employed during combat situations between Command Center leaders or in an all angelic fighter squadron.
Command Crewmember: “Commander, we’ve got reports coming in now.”
Commander Seraphina: “What have you got for me, Anath?”
Anath: “Scouts on the ground at Xue II indicate that the circus has made landfall and have engaged the research group there.”
Seraphina: “Excellent. How are they faring?”
Anath: “They say that it’s colder than the wind in the Devil’s Wings, ma’am, but there have been negligible casualties due to the freezing temperatures. It looks like the fighting has ramped up and everyone seems to be having a good time. The research team has even begun using their intimate knowledge of the terrain to make things more interesting and our agents haven’t had to step in yet…though Danihel admits to tossing around a few explosive snowballs for fun.”
Seraphina: “Right, like he could resist. Sounds great, keep me apprised.”
Anath: “Yes, my Lady.”
Primary Mission of the Lux
The Lux have, since time immemorial, watched over the BrikVerse and its inhabitants. Their goals in all that time, whatever factionalized academic discussions may rage within their ranks, have never changed. They promote and protect the BrikVersian Ideals. To wit: Extreme Ossumness, Fierce Creativity, Glorious Battle, and Unmitigated Fun. These ideals sit at the heart of Minifig Morality and they stir the passion of the Lux every single day. But the Mission is more complicated than it seems and the Lux tread the line of hypocrisy all the time. They employ a number of unsavory methods to this end. Most Lux are uncomfortable with these methods but cannot argue with their undeniable effectiveness. They have kept the Lux capable and aware through many Rekonstruktions and the heavenly host has thus been able to help an innumerable amount of people and factions throughout time and space without going extinct itself. Often, individual Lux will have to forgo the sweet song of creative chaos, bountiful bloodshed, and delightful destruction in order to heed the calling of the Greater Good.
Command Crewmember: “Ma’am, there’s something else…”
Seraphina: “Bad news, Mal?”
Malachi: “Is there another kind, my Lady?”
Seraphina: “Oh, go on, then, out with it.”
Malachi: “…Omega Group reports that Pax Designation Zeta-Three-Zero has undergone Terminus ad Absurdum. It’s gone, my Lady, I’m sorry.”
Seraphina: “…I understand. Round the count up and log it. Who were we posing as?”
Malachi: “Erm…the Phaleks, looks like.”
Seraphina: “Really, why?”
Malachi: “I’m not sure, Commander. I think Omega chose them for convenience. I seem to remember something about them making comments over building extraordinarily large bombs. It won’t stand up, of course. By the time anyone takes a look at it, IF anyone takes a look at it, we’ll be long gone and have the whole affair scrubbed clean. Forces in that area are tangled, as you know. The Phaleks might even claim credit just for the prestige…it was, sadly, just a planet full of pacifists. Come to think of it, word was that there was some kind of time traveling peacemaker at the location. I couldn’t say Who that was but Omega may have chosen the combination because of that Tek.”
Seraphina: “Hm. Still, a damn shame all around, don’t you think, Uriel?”
Perhaps the most of those deeply unsavory methods employed by the Lux is that of Terminus ad Absurdum. Terminus is the utter destruction of a location and all of its inhabitants, the Lux designation for the ever-boring Nuklear Option. It goes beyond mere destruction, however. Lux agents return to “salt the earth” as it were, ensuring that nothing of the original offending culture returns or ever takes root there again. It’s extreme, and rarely done.
Lux also have the innate ability to don a Glamour. Their Glamours are unlike traditional illusions, as Angels and other Divine creatures have the ability to manipulate the very fabric of reality. So Glamours might be better described as a kind of combination shapeshifting and illusion. Only the pure of heart (the BrikVersian kind) can see through the Glamour to the Lux’s true self…and then, only with difficulty and usually only when they know or suspect what they might be looking for. This ability is primarily responsible for the Lux’s long survival and ability to perpetuate their goals. Most Lux find it extremely distasteful. In any case, the ability has often been used to pose as another faction when carrying out mission goals. Up until recent Rekons, this has worked perfectly. However, in the “modern” days, Factions have grown up into vast Star Empires and the Lux are finding it rather difficult to keep up. When such large entities have truly astonishing resources at their command, it becomes somewhat easier to see the unseen hand of Lux manipulations. In the face of this, Lux have had to learn to work even smarter and not harder. Knowledge of Lux existence has become unavoidable at this point (for the major empires, anyway), and so the Lux have begun cautiously contacting faction authorities to, ostensibly, discuss terms of alliance.
Uriel: “No, I do not. Needs must when the Devil drives. And your man is right…but we aren’t completely sure the time travel tek was destroyed. Our agents are looking for it but we have yet to lay hands on any instance of it.”
Seraphina: “Come, Uriel, you can’t believe it was the best solution. We could have placed deep covers, or sleepers at the very least. Done some instigating, made some long term plans for rehabilitation…anything is better than engaging in that monstrous practice.”
Uriel: “We’ve had this discussion, Sera. I don’t like it either but we don’t have the resources to waste on people that far gone. It has to be done, for the greater good, and you know it. Your way may be the better way but it’s one we can’t afford right now. Especially with…well.
Seraphina: “But do we have that right? To wipe out an entire people because we don’t like their way of life? And especially when they might eventually Produce?”
Uriel: “Yes. God-given. Besides, you know it’s more complicated than that. Manipulating or brow beating them into conversion isn’t much different.”
Seraphina: “Fine. I’ll leave it for now but we will revisit this later. So how’s that going anyway, the whole Noob War?”
Uriel: “Eh, I don’t really know. I stopped keeping track.”
Seraphina: “What? Goddammit, Uriel…”
Seraphina: “…It’s important. We could always use fresh violence.”
Uriel: “I know, I know. I’m just not assigned to it. I know we’ve got agents on both sides working to instigate things but not a great deal has come from it yet. I’m sure those guys will get to it on their own soon enough.”
Lux Philosophy and Factionalization
For all their singularity of purpose, there are some deep divides among the ranks of the Lux. One of the major divides concerns just who, or what, is at the top of the pyramid. Some believe they’re serving a Human they call god. Some believe the Host serves all Humanity, collectively called god. Others believe they serve a power even greater than Humans and still others believe there is no higher power and Angels are merely one of the oldest races, adrift in space like everyone else. There’s even a very small faction who believe Brikthulu is in charge. But the differences don’t stop there. Individual Lux differ greatly in opinion on methodology. The primary schism seems to occur when discussing whether the proper way to deal with something is through stealth and diplomacy or forcefully, violently, and all over the place by way of the well positioned sword. It was this primary schism which initially led to the formation and acceptance of the Half-Fallen. They are the Lux who perform the aforementioned necessary evils. Diplomacy, abject manipulation, nuclear options, complex calculations and planning, and so on and so forth. They operate outside of the normal hierarchy in a very secretive, black operations division of their own. Mostly, the Half-Fallen do not have much of a command structure of their own and many of their agents work solo or in small teams. There are some exceptions, such as Omega Group.
The Lux are spread thin across the universe. Once, they were great in number but now their size barely compares to some of the smaller empires. This is thanks to a devastating phenomenon which has kept the Lux from “reproducing” with any frequency. Now, Lux don’t necessarily produce new generations in the usual way. Sure, virile and fertile individuals might bear divine fruit but genetics doesn’t necessarily make a Lux. Though when it does, these offspring are called Nephilim and are extraordinarily physically powerful. Unfortunately, not all of the Nephilim are as convinced of the Lux way of life as their parent or parents are and so many of them never join ranks. The “creation” of a Lux is actually far more spiritual. Minifigs that rise to truly believe in (and very possibly embody) the Ideals tends to experience an emotional transcendence all his or her own. They shine throughout space like great, blazing beacons in the darkness and the Lux soon after arrive to indoctrinate them into the fold. The receive training of both a military and a spiritual nature, learning to control the gifts of body, mind, and soul to a fantastic degree. Once training is complete, these reforged minifigs join the ranks of the Paladins. The Paladin Corps is the most militaristic arm of the Lux and they make up a significant portion of the faction’s total population. When a Paladin dies, she becomes a Divine Spirit. Unlike most other Spirits in the BrikVerse, Divine Spirits are benevolent toward the living. Spirits are pair-bonded with living, active Paladins. They can have no effect on the material world, but they serve as excellent guides, watchmen, and communicators. Spirits operate under a modified kind of permanent Glamour. They are always incorporeal but they can be seen and interacted with by the pure. As Spirits grow in power and experience, and as their partners move on to become spirits themselves, they tend to choose one of two distinct paths. In the first, they manifest all of their power in a specialized ritual that allows them to forge a new body, thus becoming new Angels. In the second, they remain spirits but that energy is never so tightly focused. These spirits grow vast in size and formless. Primarily, you’ll find them adopting a specific role and utilizing their great power to best effect. The WarSpirit is the most basic example of this, a great, old spirit that powers Starships. The older and more powerful the WarSpirit, the bigger and more advanced the ship it can power. Angels can conceive as well, of course, but such an occurrence is exceedingly rare thanks to some quirk of angelic physiology. There are very, very few pure bred Angels running around (and strangely, there doesn’t appear to be any difference anyway). And Angels aren’t immortal…they can be killed. But when a creature of heaven is killed, where does he go? Detroit? Well, no, he returns to BrikHeaven but must spend a great deal of time there recuperating. If he comes back out, he won’t remember it because there appears to be some sort of mental barrier between that realm and this. Some Angels even wonder if they themselves aren’t reincarnations of legendary Angels who have died in service. There is, unfortunately, just no way to know. Only a god could traverse that boundary with everything intact. As we can see, then, angelic “reproduction” is heavily reliant on conversion. And this is happening less and less across the universe in modern Rekons as the Star Empires grow significantly in size. Many citizens and soldiers of the various empires grow ever more loyal and indoctrinated into their own cultures, especially over successive generations. That free spirited spark doesn’t shine as often in the dark of space anymore as a direct result. Some Lux even believe that the beacon was two-way and that the Lux don’t shine as brightly anymore either…especially with the natural conformity of its own ranks.
Lux are simply divided into large battle companies. These companies are headed by a Commander (sometimes they are given grander titles) who works in tandem with other Commanders on behalf of the Lux as a whole. Each company maintains a sizable Paladin group and several Angelic squads. The division is mostly for ease of strategic planning, given that Pallys and Angels tend to display different abilities. However, some Commanders prefer to maintain mixed squads, believing in the strength of diversity. This concept is fundamental to most companies and it is generally required, at least, that Angels are led by Paladins and Paladins by Angels. It is interesting to note that humility among the ranks and respect among its members is intensely common. While Angels tend to wield significantly more power than their minifig counterparts, most of them were once Paladins themselves. What’s more, Paladins often earn their respect out of sheer adaptability and badassery. Precisely because Paladins are more limited, they are often far more creative in the use of their abilities. Each company is assigned a large region of space to patrol and look after. Seraphina’s company, for example, is assigned to the prestigious position of watching over the Nehellenium Galaxy.
Seraphina: “Okay. And the Bavarian Situation?”
Uriel: “Well, that’s complicated. I know we have projects in the works but, to be frank, I think that whole thing is going to be a lot more surprising than the initial reports suggested. I’ve been keeping an eye on it on my rounds. There’s more to it than there seems.”
Seraphina: “Good, let’s just hope that none of the heavy hitters decides to go all of the way. Some of their Epitek puts our Terminus Engines to shame. I’d hate to see something so completely lame happen. I doubt it will, though. Some of those factions have been the most promising so far.”
Uriel: “You speak highly of them.”
Seraphina: “I respect them, Uriel, and so should you. They’ve already done much good for the universe and they have the potential to do a great deal more. I know how you feel but, consider, if we ever become obsolete, then we have truly achieved our goal. Our time will be at an end, and rightfully so.”
Seraphina: “What about the Scythian? Last I knew, your ship was combing the area. Anything on that?”
Uriel: “It’s not my ship anymore. I gave that up when I joined the special ops division. But yes, I’ve heard from Ezekiel. He tells me the beacon is the strongest he’s seen in many years. In fact, the way he talks about it strongly implies it’s the strongest he’s ever seen. But then, Ezekiel is prone to exaggeration. We’ll see once we can get closer. Last I heard, my replacement is devoting at least twelve different Operations to the man. Seems excessive…we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Seraphina: “We can deal with that when the time comes. For now, let’s focus on the business at hand. Archelaus, what’s the status with the Gate? Is it really one of ours?”
Lieutenant Commander Archelaus: “Intel is sketchy, Commander. Our Gates aren’t known for being stable. What’s more, most of them tend to pop up in the Astral. We have ships in the area but long range scans show only a low level Astral resonance. This thing is almost completely within realspace, ma’am. Where, I might add, things are rapidly going to hell.”
Seraphina: “Hm, very well, so if it is one of ours, someone or something very powerful has forced it into the view of the natives. I wonder why. Get me more intel on that thing. Will our vessel be able to reach the field in time?”
Archelaus: “Yes, ma’am, we’re working on it now. Yes, ma’am, I believe so. I’ve got some of the boys and girls working a new Astral program. It’s experimental but it should make the Associative Cognition processes fire off a little quicker. It’s not quite Stream of Consciousness but…”
Seraphina: “Do it. If we can manage to arrive before this whole thing started, that’d be great. We’ll take up position in the Astral Space there and see what happens.”
Archelaus: “Yes, Commander, we’ll breach the Astral Barrier on your mark.”
Lux Space Travel
Though Lux have conventional sublight travel technology, their primary mode of space travel isn’t through space at all. Instead, thanks to their Divine natures, they have the ability to breach the barrier between the RealVerse and the Astral Plate alternate dimension. Travel is usually difficult in the Astral, by virtue of it’s being abstract, but Angels are at home there and can maneuver with extreme ease. Time flows differently in the Astral and so Lux ships traveling in this manner can actually move through time as well as space, often arriving before they left. This supreme method of travel is the Lux’s greatest advantage. Not only does it afford them often (but not always) instantaneous travel but it also eliminates the need for a stealth system of any kind. Being in an alternate dimension removes them utterly from danger or detection and is another of the primary reasons that the Lux have stayed hidden for so long.
BrikWiki on the Astral Plate wrote: While it is true that Astral space is a metaphor and an abstract idea, it is also a physical place because physical places, like things and ideas, also come from somewhere. It is possible, under the right circumstances, to travel to the Astral Plate. The journey will undoubtedly be bewildering, spiritually and mentally trying, and may bring the traveler to great danger but it is considered, by many multiversal scholars, to be well worth the risks.
Astral Space displays a peculiarity, which may have more to do with any given sentient's limited perception than with any feature of the plane itself. Because the experience in travelling there is almost dreamlike in its abstractness and therefore highly personalized, scholars are sketchy on just how to describe the peculiarity. Most agree, however, that Astral Space is essentially localized. That is, while entering from the same place under the same circumstances a traveler may have a wildly different experience but the physical sensation of location is unchanged. This makes it possible to navigate the Astral and, if one has the capability, enter and exit at very specific points in a given real universe. Navigating is not easy, however, and it is extraordinarily easy to become very, very lost. Furthermore, the distances even between universes in the same multiversal cluster are vast so, barring some deific means of travel, travelers are typically limited to their own universes.
Seraphina: “Engage Crossover Event in three…”
Uriel: “Will this new method handle a vessel of this size?”
Archelaus: “Of course it will, Sir, no worries.
Archelaus: “Well, I’m pretty sure it will anyway…”