It has been little more than three decades since Humans were first invited to Ail’ka, and while we have learned much in those years since, many secrets remain. A closely guarded military system, the Xi’an have been extremely protective about allowing other species access. However, thanks to diplomatic efforts like the Human-Xi’an Trade Initiative, the relationship between our two great Empires continues to improve. The hope is that in the coming years, we will see further loosening of travel restrictions allowing Humans to experience even more of the system’s five worlds.
OUT OF THE COLD
UEE military intelligence first learned of the Ail’ka system late in the 27th century. A scattered combination of Xi’an datacores salvaged from wrecks, extra-stellar remote drone scans, and questionable second-hand Banu accounts were used to infer the existence of a previously unknown jump point in Yā’mon (then known as the Hadur system, part of the Perry Line). Rumors of this new system were further substantiated during the 28th century when Navy reconnaissance ships began tracking heavy transport movement in the sector, leading the unknown system to be given the military designation “Beehive.” Plans were even drawn up in 2788 for “Operation Bait Hive,” where a small squadron would sneak into Hadur and construct an antimatter-minefield near the suspected jump point, but before the mission was launched, the Kr.ē – Akari Peace Accord was brokered putting an effective stop to hostilities.
Not long after, in 2793, the Perry Line pact was ratified granting control of Hadur to the Xi’an and effectively cutting off Humanity’s access to both it and its connecting systems. At first, with formal spying efforts significantly curtailed in the name of peace, the flow of information all but dried up, but over the next century, as relations continued to improve and more Human and Xi’an traders had dealings with each other, additional facts emerged – the Xi’an called the system Ail’ka, it had served as their military command center during the cold war connecting not only to Hadur but also to Indra, it continued to host a significant martial force, and it had a blue class-B star at its heart. While this helped to provide a broad overview of Ail’ka, it would not be until 2915 when the Xi’an formally invited Humans to visit the system that the full picture began to come into focus.
TESTING THE WATERS
The first Humans to visit the system were brought there on the behest of Xi’an ship manufacturer Aopoa. After receiving special dispensation from Emperor Kr.ē, the manufacturer recruited ten pilots to assist in testing their Human-modified Khartu-al. For two years, the pilots lived and worked from Aopoa’s headquarters on Ail’ka IV helping to refine the first spacecraft the Xi’an would produce specifically for sale in the UEE.
As told by one pilot, Magnolia Lizardo, in her book, Blue Dawn, they were constantly guarded the whole time they were there, and outside of strict test flight conditions, were only allowed to travel the system on sanctioned tours and under close escort. Even so, their first hand accounts of living on a military Xi’an world would provide a deeper understanding of what the day to day life of Xi’an soldiers is like.
For the Xi’an, military service is compulsory with every young adult required to temporarily forgo their house name and dedicate themselves to serving the Emperor. Teeming with youth away from their family-lines for the first time, Ail’ka has been described by some as a cross between the universities in Rhetor and the training facilities in Kilian. The entire system, from the training grounds and manufacturing plants on Ail’ka IV all the way out to the harvesters on Ail’ka V, is designated for empiratic use. In fact, it should come as no surprise that the unofficial language of the system is the Xi’an’s military dialect.
In addition, Ail’ka is home to the largest Xi’an fleet that the UEE is currently aware of. It is believed that all the forces that had been deployed along the Perry Line were withdrawn here and since that time, manufacturing plants have been steadily growing the number of ships present. Strategists continue to debate what percentage of the Xi’an overall fighting capability does this sizeable force represent. Whatever the answer, the strength shown here is definitely enough to give any Legatus serious pause about what would have happened if Human/Xi’an tensions ever erupted into full-blown war. Which some say was part of the reason the Xi’an granted Humans access in the first place.
XYEPING (AIL’KA I)
The innermost world in the system, this small rocky protoplanet is isolated from the rest of Ail’ka thanks to the nearby asteroid belt. Even without that barrier, few would want to visit Xyeping. The massive, rapidly spinning star looms large overhead, baking the surface of the protoplanet and bombarding it with flares of helium.
HUICHUAI’YATH (AIL’KA BELT ALPHA)
It is not uncommon for Xi’an pilots trained in the fighter academies on nearby Ail’ka IV to cut their teeth here, engaging in extensive war-games among the swarm of orbiting asteroids. It is rumored that only one in a hundred Xi’an are able to make it through the rigorous exercise to become a full military pilot. Aopoa also uses this field to conduct many of their test flights, utilizing the erratic spin of the asteroids here as a proving ground for their ship’s agility.
K’YA.K’UING (AIL’KA II)
This barren and rocky world has been declared completely off-limits to all Humans. However, scans taken in the area have shown heavy gunfire coming from the surface leading some to surmise that this world may be used for training elite Xi’an forces in planetary combat, not unlike the UEE’s use of Corin.
YE’TEN (AIL’KA III)
Terraformed specifically for optimal agricultural conditions, all available arable land is being used for the cultivation of numerous staple crops. Access to the planet is extremely well-guarded, with all extra-planetary traffic directed to a single hermetically-sealed enclosure in order to prevent contamination of the crops from off-world visitors. It seems that these extra precautions are in place to preserve the farms and fermentation silos here as a strategic resource reserve to ensure that their forces can be self-sufficient and remain fed in case of war or other catastrophe. With the extremely long shelf life of Xi’an fermented food, it is estimated that there is years if not decades worth of rations being stored here.
Some visitors to the system have noted that the agricultural structures on Ye’ten are significantly older than the military constructions elsewhere in the system. This has lead many to speculate that Ail’ka was not always a military system, but rather was re-purposed after hostilities with the UEE began due to its proximity to the border.
M.IIY’ONG (AIL’KA IV)
If there is anywhere deserving of the UEE’s original designation for the system, “Beehive,” it is here on M.iiy’ong. As the military headquarters of Ail’ka, the planet is a constant whirlwind of activity with transport ships delivering personnel and supplies around the clock. For the most part, each half of the world is dedicated to serve a particular function. The northern hemisphere is believed to contain training compounds, command bureaus, and intelligence facilities. This is mostly speculation as the area has been off limits, with all visitors being restricted to the southern hemisphere where massive manufacturing plants dot the surface.
Working directly with the military to deliver to soldiers the latest vehicles and armaments, many of the top Xi’an transportation, armor and weapon manufacturers operate from M.iiy’ong including ship manufacturer Aopoa. Most visitors to the system are typically heading to Aopoa’s headquarters where any number of Human test pilots, engineers, press agents, and more are working on the next release of Human-converted ships like the Khartu-al, Nox, and San’tok.yāi.
Outside the factory, the ‘dust halls’ near the shipping yards are notorious for the soldiers who visit them looking to relax and blow off some steam. These combination taverns and spas can be quite busy near the end of a cycle, so it is recommended that Humans wishing to experience it for themselves visit during off-peak times.
HUICHUAI’SYEN (AIL’KA BELT BETA)
This mineral rich belt is being actively mined by the Xi’an military. Rather than stripping the belt of its resources as quickly as possible, the preferred strategy seems to be only excavating what is actively needed for production at the time allowing the belt to serve as a natural vault for the valuable assets until they are needed.
YE’TON (AIL’KA V)
Harvesters and refineries orbit this gas dwarf, producing the huge amounts of fuel needed for the large fleet stationed here. Analysis of the world’s unique weather patterns have led some climatologists to theorize that the Xi’an might have used terraforming-esque technology to create stable storms that would aid in gas collection. Xi’an officials have not yet commented on this theory, but some Human companies have begun researching the feasibility of similar plans.