Osmium Era - the 76th - lasted 22,090,596 Uranian days - exactly 900
Uranian years, equivalent
to 75,600 Earth
It took this time to sort out the implications of the
preceding 5-hour Rhenium Era.
This is not to say that the people of the Osmium Era
spent their days pondering the Rhenium Moment. Far from it; for
the vast majority of their days, they had their minds on other
things. This great era comes the closest to providing stories
analogous to the Cold-War "thrillers" of Earth's history; the details
are vastly different but the mood is sometimes reminiscent. Syoom
itself was divided into sharply defined, competing power-blocks, and in
addition there was renewed contact with the empire of the Quonians
outside the main part of Syoom. Espionage abounded, and crises and
destructive weapons, and large military organizations. The whole
period pulsated with tension and vigour.
The underlying reason for these trends lay in that brief
five-hour "voice" uttered by the world-spirit in era 75. It echoed
on, deep in people's minds, gradually convincing them of a truth which
many did not wish to hear.
The voice had confirmed that the destiny of the kalyars
was to flourish not in this Great Cycle but in the next one, in
the unimaginably distant future. Their current efflorescence
was a mere foretaste. They should retire from centre stage for the
time being, leaving the present to the Nenns, and reserving the far
future for themselves.
It was a compliment to them, in a way, but one which
ambitious evolved men naturally found hard to accept. Yet as their
numbers gradually declined, as they began to show signs of a kind
of cultural recession or hibernation, as many of them reverted to
tribalism and diffused into the wilderness, the truth nagged at the
ones who remained powerful, and many were determined to resist.
The kalyar power-blocks took a long time to die, and they were strong
and dangerous while they were dying.
The most successful of them began increasingly to
recruit Nenns to make up their numbers: people who, though ordinary
humans biologically, had for some reason developed a wish or a need to
leave their native lands; dissidents, outlaws, settlers, or ambitious
skilled people attracted by offers from kalyar
states. By the end of the era, the formerly kalyar
states had become completely Nenn, but with their own traditions,
different from those of the core of Syoom.
alliance of this period was between three Syoomean city states: Ao,
Vyanth and Skyyon. These three powerful cities remained
independent but formed a close association to patrol the lands
between them, and the association and the lands became loosely
known as the Great Triangle. It brought an unusual degree of peace
and security to a section of Syoom about fifteen million square
miles in area.
The thinkers of the Osmium Era paid a lot of attention
to questions of loyalty and identity, of how to treat allies and
enemies, of shades of moral obligation. Brainwashing and other
evil state actions were not unknown. Economics also
flourished as a discipline to an unusual extent compared with the rest
of Uranian history; ell-light GNPs of the various states were published
In the midst of this era occurred the first lifetime of
the famous secret agent, Taldis Norkoten, whose adventures, together
with those of his sidekick Sialend Baplegn, form the basis of many
tales. Norkoten eventually became the 64,702nd Sunnoad, but
insisted on retiring after a 1000-day reign, during which he tried to
institute a permanent supranational Sunnoad's Navy to keep the
Taldis Norkoten 64702 succeeded in helping Syoom over a
dangerous patch during his lifetime, but his achievement was purely
personal, and did not outlast him. His people mourned his loss but
did not take his advice; the most they did was to rename Zdinth Hall,
the focus of the Rhenium Moment, as Norkoten Hall - one of the rare
instances of renaming in Uranian history.
The Osmium Era, to sum up, was a thrilling epic, with a
tincture of reflection. It was almost as mighty as the Phosphorus
Era in terms of forces unleashed, though without its aura of myth;
almost as rich in personal derring-do as the Vanadium Era, though
nowhere near as fresh and simple-minded. What was unique
about the Osmium Era was its adrenalin-powered "rat-race" of competing
powers, glitteringly ambitious and insecure.
What brought it to a close, was a reform movement dedicated to
the memory of a long-dead Sunnoad.
began quietly with an organization of academic historians united by
their common interest in the career of Taldis Norkoten 64702.
After a while the scope of this group expanded, as it attracted those
who wished to resurrect the ideals of that long-dead Sunnoad.
Eventually the membership of the Norkoten Society included many
active political figures in many of the lands of Syoom, and finally some
of them seized the opportunity which a crisis offered, to persuade the
current Sunnoad and the Noads of the more powerful cities to put
Norkoten's ideals into effect by the establishment of a Sunnoad's Navy drawn from
all the national navies of Syoom.
Amid pan-Syoomean rejoicing, and
amid the increasing expectation that from all this excitement there
would surely come an eomasp,
>> The Sunnoad's Navy
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