Echelon supersoldier Taiga poses for a recruitment poster.


“The Elites of Echelon”

Quincy Takai, 

Published JR-7274-E, 23-10-2977

It’s costly to sustain an interplanetary standing army– thus many world governments turn to private military corporations when conflict boils over. Of these private corporations, some of the top corporations– among them Vanguard, Citadel, and Echelon– have found vast fortunes to be made beyond conventional warfare.

Echelon recruits the cream of the crop, developing those with potential in both combat prowess and charisma into supersoldiers. From day one, Echelon gamifies their soldiers’ performance: each action in training and on the battlefield is assigned an XP value, and as enough XP is earned, unlocks and promotions are granted through this system. On many planets, these supersoldiers are treated as major celebrities, with their battles frequently recorded and broadcast or even livestreamed. The profits from merchandising, external sponsorships, and licensing rights dwarf the money Echelon makes through government contracts.


Illustration from Irma Beumer’s field notes of the dishworm’s life cycle.


Text transcribed from the notes of xenobiologist Irma Beumer:

The dishworm, so named for its dish-like carapace, is a small organism native to planet Khepri-1b. It lives in the dirt of temperate forests in the twilight zone. In addition to energy obtained from the photosynthetic cells on its “dish,” the mobile forms burrow and forage in detritus for food.

Its lifecycle is a complex one: the dishworm appears to be gynodioecious, consisting of female and hermaphrodites. Current research suggests that all members of the species start as females and later become hermaphroditic. Adult females are mobile and their eggs develop parthenogenetically into female offspring, while adult hermaphrodites are sessile and self-fertilize eggs, not unlike the life stages of Earth organisms of ferns or cnidarians. Early xenobiology research mistook the two adult stages as entirely unrelated organisms.


#1 spore/egg — small, scattered by winds — can be fertilized (egg) or self-fertilized pseudo-spore

#2 young dishworm stage (sessile) — undergoes embryonic development, suggested main nutrient sources are from the soil and photosynthesis

#3 juvenile dishworm stage — similar to stage 4a, but with a much shorter tail that grows additional segments with age

#4a adult stage — wormlike, the first recorded observations of this organism. Its anterior has four appendages for shoveling and combing dirt, while the heavy tail and the tail’s claws serve to anchor the organism in high wind conditions

#4b adult stage (sessile) — hermaphroditic, self-fertilizes eggs that are dispersed via wind forces. The soft “body” of 4a is not visible.


Points of Interest

The Pharos

An excerpt from The Pharos Stands Tall: A Testament to Survival, by Johann Brahe:

The tallest and one of the oldest structures of Station 1, the Pharos’ light can be seen from hundreds of miles away, guiding the way for colonists. The name itself came from the eponymous Pharos, the Lighthouse of Alexandria (of Earth’s Ancient Greek fame), which was the first such beacon and a symbol of a city at the crossroads of the ancient Greco-Roman world. 

The Pharos was constructed out of recycled parts of the first colony ship, the ISS Qilin, intended as a navigation tool in the early days of settlement. Nowadays, the light of the Pharos is mostly symbolic, an enduring testament to the perseverance of early settlers and an icon of the early colonial era. Even as beacons have become obsolete, many travelers still bring toy replicas as good luck charms on their journey.