The Great Triangle

 

Continued from The Rhenium Moment

The mighty Osmium Era - the 76th - lasted 22,090,596 Uranian days - exactly 900 Uranian years, equivalent to 75,600 Earth years.

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.

The greatest 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 amid rivalry. 

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 peace.

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.

This movement 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, an eomasp occurred.

>> The Sunnoad's Navy

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