About The Quantum Series

An overview of the Quantum Series (as told by Christina Engela):

“Imagine, if you will:”

This is how I start all of my stories. It’s my signature in a way. It’s like saying ‘long, long ago’ or ‘once upon a time’, and I really do enjoy my writing. I love my characters, and I pour my passion and my heart into the words I smith, as in the worlds I create.

I started writing stories almost as soon as I was old enough to grasp a pen. I grew up wanting to be a writer, and being around my father (who was also a writer) made me realize that nothing is as impossible as you think it is.

The Quantum Series is marked by my own special warped and twisted sense of humor and irony. It also includes some elements of the fantasy and horror genres, such as vampires. The series is set in the same ‘universe’ or timeline as the Galaxii Series, but considerably later.

What really crystallized my vision of the Quantum Series was the process I went through while writing “Black Sunrise” – because that is where I hit upon the PERFECT setting for my characters and the scenarios and adventures I wanted to create!

No longer would my characters need to be confined to the same old setting of a starship as I had done in the past! I found that far too limiting, and when I created the Terran colony Deanna, I found I had the freedom to do anything I wanted with them!

Buckle up – this is where we’re going:

Deanna, the spotted cow of the galaxy!

Destination address: 6327B2B.04.00 (System: 6327B2B, Star: Ramalama, Planet: 04 (Deanna), Colony Class 3).


The navigational address for Deanna.

Deanna, is a third rate colony world on the borders of civilization, (System 6327B2B) on the Imperial Star Charts) where strange things can happen and often do. This planet has been described (perhaps most famously in the Galactic Tourist Guide) as ‘the center of the universe as far as weirdness is concerned‘. One of the contributing factors toward this unenviable reputation might have something to do with the fact that it has a small moon (called Ding) that falls down occasionally. The other moon, Dong, is much bigger, just sits there and doesn’t do much.

Ramalama is the star at the heart of this particular system. The reason for its peculiar name has been blamed on the whimsical sense of humor of the early colonists who arrived on Deanna and reportedly found nothing much to laugh at. As a result, local inhabitants would drink Ramalama-downers after work, and eat eggs Ramalama-side-up. The reason for this may have something to do with Ding and Dong – Deanna’s two moons – hence Ramalama-Ding-Dong  (this is a local joke).


From left to right: Ramalama, Deanna, and Ding and Dong.

Deanna is becoming an increasingly favored tourist destination, with numerous attractions – although these are mostly geared at outdoors activities such as ‘game fishing’ (the local cocka-snoek are extremely challenging to fishermen, who have perfected a technique of dynamite fishing as a result).

At the time Cindy-Mei Winter lands on Deanna, at the start of Black Sunrise, the colony is well-established and is already just over 50 years old. Being a relatively young colony world on the outskirts of Terran civilization proper, Deanna is, perhaps because of its unique eccentricity, a new favorite destination for all sorts of people looking for a fresh start – which is what brings Ms. Winter here.

There is a significant number of friendly aliens, non-humans (including supernatural life forms) present on Deanna. There are more visible minorities than in the beginning, and for example, in Atro City, there are several small neighborhoods which are generally preferred by some of them for settlement and business activities. That aside, there are also less visible minorities, whose existence is virtually unknown, but who nevertheless co-exist with humans and aliens alike, sometimes without their knowing.

A touch of history…

At the outset of colonization, the raw Deanna had promised the early colonists nothing but hardship and lean years at first, until they could get things going properly.  Employing the resolve, stoicism and determination of frontiersmen in all manner of times and places, the colonists simply got on with the business at hand – making a life here in the outblack, where at first, everything had to come from the supply ships.

As expected, there was little in the way of entertainment, aside from everyday life – so they looked up into the night sky, saw the two mad little moons and named them Ding and DongDong has been described as ‘a huge lump of nothing much, about one kilometer in diameter’ while Ding is only about fifty feet around, consists entirely of titanium and is a known navigational hazard to approaching ships.  (This is where the popular term ‘you’ve got a Ding in your fender’ comes from.) Naturally, the impact would result in Ding either being shunted into a different orbit, misplaced, or watching it fall down – usually at awkward moments, such as in the middle of a Ruminarii invasion, or when fascist revolutionaries decide to take over Atro City (that really is the name of the capital city).

One of the many times Ding has fallen down, and attracted a crowd of sight-seers (and caused a headache for local insurance companies), before being put back into orbit again.

On average, it would usually take about four heavy-duty space tugs to get the spherical lump called Ding out of its crater and put it back in orbit where it belonged – prolonged by the usual administrative delays as the Tourist Office had it polished up again first.

An entire early warning ‘Falling Moon’ detection and deflector system, designed to prevent Ding from landing on anything important (like say, a local pub) had been developed. Ding had become such a popular feature of Deanna that it had a whole page devoted to it in the Galactic Tourist Guide.

Three decades on, Deanna is still just another small colony in the Terran Empire, although it is growing steadily and healthy on all fronts.

…A little geography

Deanna is in System 6327B2B, the fourth planet in orbit around its star, Ramalama – putting it firmly in the habitable zone as far as requirements for habitation are concerned.

In terms of size, Deanna is average-sized, being roughly the same size as Earth. It has a land-sea ratio of only 35 percent – which means that if you’re a tourist looking for a great place to surf – then dude, this isn’t it.  Deanna has only one ocean, the Landlocked Ocean – which is fresh, shallow, non-tidal and – as you could probably tell by its name, landlocked.

Because of the small ocean, there is plenty of arable land surface which is just as good for farming and building as it is for mining (and in certain cases, snorting). Many minerals are prevalent in the geography on Deanna, most especially Lantillium. Deanna is rich with arable land, plenty of fresh water in the Landlocked Ocean and in the many rivers that flow to it. One of the origin theories of the Landlocked Ocean is that an asteroid impact created a large crater (described as “more of a dent, actually” in the initial survey mission report), and filled up by rivers fed by melting ice caps at both poles.

Deanna has many small rural settlements and larger towns. There are also several cities – and the three largest are Atro City, San Fedora and Fortitude, all of which are within a few hundred kilometers of each other.

Economy Class

Deanna is a good place to farm either with crops or livestock, and there’s enough Lantillium to last a lifetime or two. Consequently the two biggest industries (aside from tourism) are farming (crops and livestock) and Lantillium mining.


Agriculture provides a variety of crops, grown by independent farmers on Deanna, especially on the plains surrounding Atro City. Most of the crops on Deanna are sold and traded locally and are not for export, unlike livestock, which consists primarily of red-horned wildebeest ranching. These curious lab-bred creatures, oddly reminiscent of some kind of blend between cattle, llamas, goats and some kind of buck, are considered a very valuable commodity.


Mining, which focuses almost exclusively on Lantillium, is almost on a par with the agricultural contribution to Deanna’s local economy. Lantillium is a kind of nonferrous, nonmagnetic (apolar) metal used to line warp cores in stardrive engines – and also the inside of blaster emitter barrels, and is a rather valuable commodity for the export market.


Tourism is the third largest contributor to the local economy, and this is fed by a booming trade in transport. The only spaceport on Deanna is at Atro City, and is a port of call for passenger liners, loderunners and private shipping. Ships from Beljan Interstellar regularly visits to offload and take on diverse cargoes, including mineral ores from local mining companies. Deanna is also a regular stop for big space liners  like Ossifar Distana, one of the largest ships of that type with the Red Star Line that traverse the Terran Empire.

Deanna has at least one Hawaiian-themed seaside tourist resort in Atro City – on the western head of  the Bay. The beautiful Bottlenose Bridge – a suspension bridge – crossing Atro City Bay, provides a scenic backdrop for sight-seers cruising the Bay to watch the cute local braking-dolphins swim backwards through the tour boats propellers. Further afield, the Skeggs Valley Dynamite Fishing Club offers fishing tours to paying clients at select times during the year. These tours take place along the course of the Whatoosie River in Skegg’s Valley, guided by (very) experienced game fishermen, many of whom have 30 or more years experience (in the Imperial Space Fleet or Starmarines). The tours are open to paying clients (providing the appropriate waivers are signed) and several special services are available, including discount rates at local dentists and emergency rooms.

The Whatoosie River... where signs like these are considered...normal.

The Whatoosie River… where signs like these are considered…normal.

Of the many natural attractions on Deanna, (aside from the highly entertaining little moon ‘Ding‘) Craptacular Falls, on the lower course of the Whatoosie River, is truly breathtaking. As a matter of interest, up to seventy-three people are known to have perished there in the previous fifty years. Likewise, Goodbye Point – on the eastern head of the Bay – has powerful rip-currents which have claimed perhaps as many victims.

And now, a dash of biology

Unlike most other colony worlds settled by the Terran Empire, Deanna was already breathable and had plenty of indigenous life that still lives on the planet in company with the settlers. This is one of the key elements of the series, since the quirky, whimsical and often downright eccentric creatures really help things along in the humor department.

Animal life on Deanna includes land, aquatic, and avian life forms. Some of the more endearing local animal types include obsidian crows, cocka-snoek, ha-ha birds, braking dolphins, flatular canaries and strato-penguins. One of the more ‘endured‘ species on the planet is known as ‘crabby-grass’, and if you stepped on it, you would know all about it.


“When pigeons fly, they can flock all they want, but on Deanna, when they’re on the ground, they’re a herd.” – The Galactic Tourist Guide, page 2013.

Flatular Canaries are another odd species of bird on Deanna. These little feathered oddities are small, about the size of a tennis ball, and covered in light gray feathers. The head is topped with longer, looser, much darker feathers that give the creatures a frazzled, ‘blown-up’ sort of appearance. Their beaks are short and sharp, and they tend to favor Ribold Berries and Rabid Beans in their diet – which goes a long way to explain their name.

Flatular Canary

Flatular canaries have no vocal chords, so the origin of their name should not be too hard to guess! During mating season, flatular canaries are known to swell to twice their normal size and their unique mating calls have been recorded by amateur birders from all over the Terran Empire.

Florpavian Flame Birds are a rare sight – at least anywhere other than on their home world Florpavia. For a while, several specimens were visible in the Atro City zoo, shortly before the Exotic Birds Wing had to be rebuilt for the second time. Aside from their appearance, they tend to remind people of the stories about dragons they hear about as children.

This comparison runs deeper than mere appearance however, since the creature tends to be extremely deadly. It has raw acetone for blood and walks around the surface of its home planet, Florpavia, eating raw chemicals and crapping crude plastic explosive everywhere it goes. Its breath is noxious and has been known to strip paint from nearby walls. It’s hiccups could be deadly. Its coughs are feared by even the hardiest and most athletic cargo-master or zoo-keeper. To say nothing of the um, flatulence.

Florpavian flame birds resemble giant lizards on two legs, and are even reminiscent of Terran ostriches, and are of a similar size. Their bodies are covered with bright blue feathers which tend to be a little singed around the nostrils and beak and other more delicate places – which are usually bright pink. Small scrawny wings sit high up on its back and seem to serve little more purpose than to fan the flames than anything else.

It’s a long-standing bit of good advice on Deanna, that if you ever happen to see a zoo-keeper running you should try your level best to keep up. Silent and deadly has nothing on it! When angry, the bird could incinerate a full-grown man in seconds at a range of twenty feet. Sometimes even on purpose.

And that’s just the female of the species. The males just tend to mope around, looking for females and suffering acute indigestion and passing gas. For the most part they do nothing more menacing than sleeping all day and blowing smoke-rings from both ends. Trouble is, these creatures are far too nervous and, due to the digestive problems, have a dangerous tendency to explode without warning. According to the Industrial Safety Council, the male birds can explode with the force equivalent to ten kilograms of C4 plastic explosive. Luckily, Florpavian flame birds are generally docile and peaceable. Mostly.

One would think that, being so dangerous to be around, these nobody would want one of these creatures as a pet, and with very good reason. Unbelievably however, some idiots get it in their heads the creatures made good pets. Kind of in the same way that other idiots keep lions and leopards as domestic pets. It’s an image thing, being in apparent control of such a large powerful creature with an aura of inherent fatality about it. They would invite friends and prospective business partners round to show off their power and affluence – and be the envy of their friends, associates and business partners. Then, one bright sunny morning the maid comes in to work – to find the big cat lazing on the couch looking well-fed, and the only bit that she can find of the boss is something that might be used as an ashtray. But in the case of the Florpavian Flame bird, the maid would be sweeping what was left of the boss into a dust pan while swearing under her breath about the extra-terrestrial bird crap eating into the lounge tiles. That, or she would open the front door and fall into the crater that used be the lounge. Florpavian Flame birds don’t eat people, but they certainly have developed a deserved reputation for killing them none the less.

Haha Birds are named after their piercing cry, usually made while soiling themselves (and everything else in their surroundings) in full flight. Standing approximately two feet tall and covered in yellow and orange plumage, the species is viewed as ‘unusually accident prone‘ (described by esteemed local Ornithologist, Dr. Peter A. Dactill in his final book on Deanna’s local bird life “Appalling Avians of Deanna”) as *ahem* “fucking psychotic space chickens!” Animal behaviorists theorize that their odd behavior is a result of the stress of being flying creatures with an in-born fear of heights, having to deal with the profound insanity of throwing themselves from perfectly good rooftops every morning just to find breakfast and a good place to crash. If you think Red-horned Wildebeest are funny, wait until you see a haha bird.

Obsidian Crows are a known road hazard on Deanna. Please ensure you have a spare tire when traveling.

Obsidian Crows are a known road hazard on Deanna. Please ensure you have a spare tire when traveling.

Perhaps first and foremost, Obsidian Crows are a known road hazard on Deanna – the planet central to most of the adventures in the Quantum Series. While they rarely get more than a mention in any single book in the series, they are one of the elements which help distinguish the setting. If you ever do visit Deanna, please ensure you have a spare tire when traveling. (You might want to read “Dead Man’s Hammer” to understand why.)

Obsidian Crows are green, heavy (full-grown birds average around ten kg) and are quite possibly the laziest birds anywhere. It is perhaps ironic then, that the Obsidian Crow appears on the flag of this Terran colony, which is called “The Crow” by locals, and generally flown alongside the Imperial Terran standard (“the Jack”).

These alien birds are natives of Deanna, the small third class Terran colony world on the fringe – and some say the lunatic fringe – of explored space. Their feathers had over millennia of evolution adapted to form pseudo-scales. The creatures are flightless since the hard-bodied creatures are far too heavy to fly, or run – or even to move at anything faster than an annoying modest shuffle.

Obsidian Crows are generally fearless since they have no known natural predators on the planet, and it has been said the only thing that can frighten an Obsidian Crow is quicksand (which does not occur naturally on Deanna).

Obsidian Crows have been a major road hazard on Deanna for many years because they tend to walk straight, as the crow fl – er, walks, more-or-less. Obsidian crows frequently get run over, but are rarely harmed in the process – usually they just shake the dust off their stony scales, before climbing out of the shallow crater in the road surface and wandering off again.

Because of the damage caused to vehicles by these frequent meetings between vehicles and crows, a small but strong industry arose, which manufactures the safety bars fitted to Deannan vehicles – and which are named after them. “Crow-bars” are today some of the most well-known and appreciated automotive accessories (and some would say necessities) on Deanna!

Strato-penguins usually keep to the upper limits of the stratosphere.

Strato-penguins usually keep to the upper limits of the stratosphere.

Strato-penguins  are the only high-flying native Deannan bird species. These unusual creatures fly using  a remarkable natural rocket propulsion (that the author hasn’t quite figured out yet – but it’s likely caused by a diet of Rabid Beans or high-octane beetles or something).  They are known to explode if they stray too high up in the outer atmosphere. Strato-penguins were named for their uncanny resemblance to Earth penguins, but with two main differences: Strato-Penguins are a good deal faster, and penguins don’t explode like that at high altitude.

There are many flocks of strato-penguins on Deanna, which for many generations have been on a perpetual high-altitude journey around the globe. These flocks fly westwards as a rule, and are seldom if ever known to land. In fact, the birds are permanently airborne. They absorb water from the air, catch food in the air, and even mate while airborne – in fact, their young are carried internally and ejected from the father’s brooding cavity as soon as the egg shell begins to crack. The chick is essentially  – er, air born  – that is, dropped into the world like a very small feathery bomb shedding shell fragments.

The chick immediately turns to face the correct direction, more by aerodynamic design than intention, and then instinctively opens its beak (most likely to scream in terror as it sees the vast new world from a few thousand feet up). The opened beak allows the air-stream to enter its complicated network of organic plumbing and start up the creature’s natural pulse-jet engine. If the process fails to start, then the chick would plummet to its death, essentially eliminating weak genes from the species. Sometimes, on rare occasions, something might go horribly wrong with a strato-penguin chick’s plumbing – and on its first go, it would mark its passing with a bright fireball above the clouds, followed by a small thunderclap. If it does fire, and after a few minutes of figuring out how its beak, stubby wings, those flappy things at the end of its legs, and its tail control surfaces work, the new-born strato-penguin soars back up to rejoin its flock – more often referred to as a ‘squadron’.

Aquatic Life

Cocka-snoek are a local freshwater fish species renowned for being tasty but yet incredibly hard to catch – as well as for being unusually resourceful! The creatures live virtually everywhere in Deanna’s freshwater ocean, and in rivers and streams. Most adult specimens vary between 20 and 50cm, depending on the variety – of which there are many.  The best-known way to catch cocka-snoek is to dynamite them, then scoop them up while they’re mildly stunned and floating on the surface. Droves of experienced fisherman come to visit Deanna annually just to hunt these elusive creatures – just to return home with naught but an empty fish-box and bits of shrapnel in their butts. There is something disconcerting about a fish so tough that it has to be stunned with a hand-grenade before you can catch and eat it.

Braking Dolphins are small pseudo-marsupial dolphin-like aquatic creatures that live virtually everywhere in Deanna’s freshwater ocean. Most adult specimens vary between 30 and 60cm. Being pseudo-marsupials, braking-dolphins have skin pouches on their underside surfaces, whose openings face forward, sometimes resulting in them being pulled backwards by the strong freshwater currents. Their pouches tend to slow them down quite a bit due to water resistance, hence their name.

Sand Orcas are small aquatic creatures resembling something like a hybrid of an Earth orca and a piranha. They can be found in the deeper waters in the shallow seas on Deanna, especially in the Landlocked Ocean.

Land Animals:

Red-horned Wildebeest are lab-bred, genetically engineered cattle, sporting cute little red horns and rabbit-like ears on top of their heads. They have a tendency to fall over on even slightly uneven terrain because of their top-heavy build.  They are extremely rectangular in shape, which makes them easier to pack together while in transit. Unfortunately this shape also results in steaks with corners and square ribs instead of spare ribs.  The milk variety is known as ‘milk cartons’ because of their shape.

Red-horned Wildebeest.

Red-horned Wildebeest.

Most cattle on Deanna are somewhat jittery and suspicious of any innocent looking clumps of grass, which might turn out to be crabbygrass – which has a tendency to bite back. In fact, the majority of farmers have their red-horned wildebeest so hopped up on sedatives they usually don’t even notice they’ve been to the abattoirs until the day after.

…but, of all the above species, it is crabby-grass which is viewed as being the most dangerous.

Crabby-grass is a native plant-like animal form native to the planet Deanna, being essentially an animal which has developed remarkably plant-like characteristics. These characteristics enable crabbygrass to blend in remarkably well with ordinary grass and help it to all but disappear into wild grass and even urban lawns.

Crabby-grass has stalk and leaf-like appendages, and even grows seasonal flowers, by which it reproduces by means of wind or insect pollination, and sometimes, even by direct contact with its partners. The creatures generally resemble clumps of thick, green grass – making them appealing, unfortunately, to herbivorous creatures. The creature’s flowers develop into seed-pods, which can be made to rattle when the creature becomes angry and shakes them, usually as a warning.

Crabby-grass: Very dangerous to small animals, and in fact, practically anything else above the ankles.

Crabbygrass has an interesting composition, and underneath its shaggy grass-like covering, its body resembles a sort of stick-insect, but which has eight segmented legs, and the front two end in sharp pincer-like claws. The body, which is remarkably hard and strong, grows a covering of fine leaf-like structures not entirely dissimilar to hair, which gives the creature its grass-like appearance.

Crabbygrass is naturally highly aggressive and tends to attack anything regardless of size with piranha-like vigor, biting and snapping at herbivores that try to eat it – causing havoc for the local farming community on Deanna. Nervous disorders in livestock is fairly common as a result, and most ranchers on Deanna put anti-depressants and sedatives into the water supply to keep their animals calm.

Crabby-grass generally subsists on its natural diet of small bugs living in the Deannan soil, but since the arrival of Terran colonists, it seems to have grown to favor the pigeons inadvertently imported from Earth as its staple diet. Domestic animals running free and unsupervised tend to vanish mysteriously. Crabbygrass is known for attacking Humans also, although mostly they cause injuries to the parts they can reach, mainly feet etc. Crabby-grass might not be able to actually eat a human, but if someone were to accidentally step on one (which happens fairly often) it would certainly try – which is why a lot of people on Deanna tend to favor safety shoes.

Plants: In terms of plant life, Deanna’s own diverse biosphere has been enriched by the introduction of plants from other colonies, but many native species have endured and continued to thrive.

Cherebub Bushes occur naturally on the grassy plains of Deanna, producing thousands of small red or purple berries that are sweet to the taste, but – containing zero calories – have absolutely no nutritional value. These bushes are named after the odd little shapes their flowers make, which were said to resemble cherubs.

The largest native tree, the Thudding Ploplar, commonly known as ‘the Ploplar tree’. This tree has adventurous roots and thick upright stems. The leaves are green-brown chlorophyllated, and fast-growing – why the tree is favored for wood for making boards for building or furnishings. The tree reproduces by growing big fruits near the top of its apex branches – which are how this tree got its name. When the fruit is ripe, it drops to the ground, either making a ‘thud’ as it lands and rolls away, or a loud ‘plop’ as it bursts. The fruit is inedible to humans.

Rabid Bean Trees are short, stunted trees that grow only about two meters in height, and produce a great many small fruits. These fruits closely resemble beans, having four cotyledonous lobes internally, and have the effect of causing gas in the digestive system of any creature that consumes it. Although the gas itself is harmless in make-up, the amount of gas they generate can create a lot of discomfort, and is believed to be the main food favored by flatular canaries.

Ribold Berry Bushes produce stunning blue flowers that look – according to a famed local botanist in his journal (the last, before he went mad) – “…something like a cross between a double hibiscus, a rambling rose and a corpse-flower!” These form berries, which are eaten by many local species (such as flatular canaries and even crabby-grass). While these fruits are eaten by indigenous species without ill effects, the berries are toxic to native Earth species, and also contain trace-amounts of hallucinogenic compounds. There aren’t many (surviving) hippies on Deanna, but if you see a strung-out, disoriented pigeon strutting about on Lupini Square, bumping into things and challenging the crabby-grass lurking on the verge to ‘come an’ geddit’, chances are, it’s been at the ribold berries.

Aliens: While many aliens can be found living on Deanna, most of these are non-permanent residents, migrant workers seeking a better livelihood, and individuals with diplomatic status.

Jim-waians have made themselves so much at home on Deanna – particularly in Atro City, they have built a religious temple (on Green Street) and have small businesses all over the cities. Jim-wa is a planet far from Deanna, and not part of the Terran Empire. It’s a semi-desert world friendly to the Empire, at least officially, with trade-agreements and so forth. The Jim-waians are easily identifiable by their unmistakable gray skin tones, even if they aren’t wearing their traditional seri-pha (a kind of woven head-scarf). Jim-waians are not even remotely human, despite their human-like appearance which suggests some kind of likely remote common ancestry, but they have almost nothing in common with humans on the genetic level. Jim-waians tend to provide small diverse services, such as shoe-makers and repairs, cafe’s and coffee shops, and all manner of vendors and peddlers. The largest Jim-waian community on Deanna is to be found in Atro City – and the most popular of these small enterprises is most likely the Insug’h Bahss – the Jim-waian café on the corner of Lupus and Grain streets in the lower down-town city center.

Ruminarii – One of the lesser-known aliens living on Deanna – er, illegal aliens, is the Ruminarii now living on a modest ranch near Skegg’s Valley – or rather, in the basement under the kitchen of the homestead. Mark, a.k.a. Half-Lieutenant Marsh’k Kluss’ta is the former commander of a Ruminarii warship – a hammerhead – that had visited and bombed Atro City! His ship destroyed by a mysterious super-keg of Falling Sherry, the marooned and hunted alien fled into the countryside, where he found sanctuary with the Grauffis family.

Fred the Arborian, going for a walk.

Arborians – the only known example of an Arborian on Deanna, travels under the name ‘Fred the Arborian‘, and is perhaps one of Deanna’s strangest residents. The planet Arboria’s dominant life-forms are plants. While they may appear to be quite ordinary, these plants are sentient, intelligent and also very mobile. As some unfortunate individuals have discovered over time, Arborians are hard to see – as hard as not seeing the wood for the trees, as it were. Most people do not expect a plant to walk past them in the street, carrying its own pot, perhaps whistling a tune and  politely wishing them a ‘good day’. This has come in very handy for Fred, who has often moonlighted as a security guard to pass the time and to get to try understand humans a little better.

Catatians (Specifically species 42709A from Catatia) are remarkably cat-like creatures. They are so remarkably cat-like in fact, that the only way you could tell the difference between a domestic house-cat and a Catatian, would be by means of a DNA – er, cat scan – or if the ‘cat’ actually told you. Consequently, it is hard to say exactly how many Catatians are currently living on Deanna. The Imperial star charts describe Catatia as orbiting a star called the Cat’s Eye. Any resemblance to the feline species is purely co-incidental. Catatians are unusually sly creatures, although mostly harmless, and usually content with finding warm, happy homes to invade settle down in. Catatians tend to dislike people screaming around them.

Meanwhile, in Atro City…

Atro City  is the capital city on Deanna. It is a medium-sized city by the standards of the time, consisting mainly of smaller settlements and towns that sprawled into each other as the number of colonists increased over time.


Situated on the shore of a large bay off the Landlocked Ocean, Atro City (pronounced At-row / City), is a diverse cosmopolitan settlement, and the largest on Deanna. The name as you might imagine, is a point of contention to locals. This curious name was derived from the designated landing zones (Alpha, Tango, Romeo and Oscar) of the original settler landings in the immediate vicinity. Numerous studies into the mindset of the early colonists have been commissioned by various departments of Atro City University over the years, including Anthropology, Psychology – and even recently, Toxicology.

There are shopping malls (the largest being The Plaza), businesses and various types of formal housing that span the many districts of the city. Among the more well-known suburbs of the city, are Lugaluru (best known for being the home of Deanna’s most famous bounty hunter, Beck the Badfeller), Wickering, and Central – the heart of Atro City (sometimes known as the spot where all the assholes are) where you would find Lupini Square, which is surrounded by Atro City University, The Governor’s Palace, and various governmental buildings. It is for this reason that this part of Atro City has on occasions been referred to by critics and politicians alike as ‘the Crapitol’.

Atro City Univeristy (ACU) is the only university on Deanna. ACU may not have a very long history – in fact, if once all the waffle is filtered out of the four ‘About’ pages in the ACU prospectus – it comes down to ‘We started this University on the Deanna Colony forty years ago basically because there were finally enough young people around to make sending them to universities on other planets far away, impractical.

The current Chancellor of ACU is Professor Barry Fielding, himself a graduate of ACU. His picture in the ACU prospectus is that of an older man with graying hair, clean-shaven, wearing a dark blue academic robe over a neat charcoal gray suit. ‘ACU is today an academic force in the sector, and many graduates already in the workplace owe their academic start to ACU as their alma mater. [See page 45 for our who’s who gallery].’

Lulu Penitentiary, is a large prison complex in the wilds surrounding Atro City. Sometimes, for fun, the Warden would let the odd prisoner out for a little air, just to give the guards – and the dogs – some real exercise. Deanna being what it is, you can be sure that Lulu has – well, several very odd prisoners.

The Vampire Underground is not a quaint night club scene, or underground occult movement, but it is definitely a secretive society on Deanna – made up by a segment of what can only be described as ‘supernatural creatures’. Living human vampires (a.k.a. Lesser-spotted night-time neck biters) do not hunt humans for blood, and haven’t done so for centuries – at least since the advent and perfection of the process of blood transfusion. Non-vampires (called ‘mundanes’ by the vampires) give them what they need through a network of blood banks and clinics. Their kind long ago decided it was far wiser to live in the shadows and to co-exist with ‘mundanes’ in peace, rather than to prey on them – it’s far better to have willing supporters and friends than terrified victims and superstitious enemies.

The vampire community on Deanna is secretive, and largely self-sufficient. Its members secretively co-exist with the general population of Deanna without incident. Many even hold important positions in Terran society organizations. The vampire community of Deanna is led by a council of Elders, which handles the internal affairs and interests of their community behind closed doors.

The important places on Deanna

San Fedora

San Fedora is a city about fifty kilometers south of Atro City, on the other side of Skegg’s Valley, smaller than the capital of Deanna. It is the second largest city, and mainly a fast developing industrial center. There are several factories there, mostly automotive and related industries (they have a very interesting mortuary at the local public health clinic that features in Dead Man’s Hammer). The local hat factory is of prime note, as is the local Jeepo factory, which is situated right next to the Crow Bar factory which has a stylized obsidian crow as a logo on a big billboard just inside the fence beside the main road.


Fortitude is the third largest city on the planet.

Further Afield

Other Worlds


Flort is a small planet inhabited by humanoids at about the same level of development as Earth in the 1950s. To Terrans, the Flortians resemble the ‘little green men’ they know from old fashioned cartoons, and this makes any dealings with them extremely complicated – because Flortians are unbelievably bad-tempered, warlike little beings who didn’t like being laughed at after every other sentence.

To make matters even worse, the two largest tribes on Flort – the Idet and the Soluut, are almost always in a state of war with each other. Mainly, the causes of these frequent wars are fairly simple to explain – neither tribe likes the other, and neither would like other to gain any kind of advantage, which implies a certain jealousy and also a great deal of difficulty and frustration for any envoys sent to negotiate with Flort. The two tribes simply don’t get on at all.

The Idet are known – erm, Flort-wide – as proud, fearsome warriors, while the Soluut have a reputation as cattle-stealing, back-stabbing cowards who would make you run your legs off chasing them, then turn back and gut you when you had run out of steam. A state of genocidal all-out war has existed between them for centuries. The Idet all seem to be shorter and dumpier, and the Soluut all seemed to thinner and slightly taller than the Idet. There are clear differences between them, and not just in physical build and appearance, but also in terms of culture and technology. The warlike Idet carry shields, swords, axes, spears and armor, while the allegedly peaceful Soluut wear no armor and seem to be using some kind of technology involving muskets, compressed air and metal projectiles.



…more coming soon!

%d bloggers like this: