The Iani are one of the newest arrivals to the Tears of the Stars Universe. In fact, their first mention was during the dossier on the Atreius link, where they only received a passing mention – undeserving for such a prominent member of the Yel bloc.
In the Universe
From a human perspective, the Yel-aligned Iani are positively boring. They are a bipedal, quasi-humanoid species hailing from a world called Mer Serran, located at the outer edges of the Atreius Link. The strategic location exposes the Iani to repeated assaults from Kessari strike teams coming through the Atreius Link, and is correspondingly well fortified and jealously defended by the Yel.
Mer Serran is a relatively low gravity world orbiting its G-Type parent star at the outer edge of the habitable zone. As such it is relatively cool world with extensive polar ice caps. That is all that can be gleaned at a glance about the surface of the world, as it is an otherwise fairly featureless world, a small equatorial ring system aside. Most of the surface outside the polar regions is covered in a permanent haze, and due to a lack of plate tectonics the only truly high peaks protruding from the mists of Mer Serran are volcanic peaks where hotspots break the crust.
This seeming lack of features almost caused the Yel to ignore it during their initial survey – until a burst of random radio noise originating from the world caught their attention. Subsequent more detailed surveys confirmed the existence of a small, but industrialized population in the equatorial band, and contact was quickly established by the Yel. A short, but intense civil war followed, with the dominant nation state supported by advanced Yel technology quickly overwhelming the rest of the world and establishing complete control in ~ 900 BCE.
Mer Serrans’ location this close to the Atreius Link gives it a prime view of the Barnon planetary nebula, spanning an area of three full moons in the sky. The Iani call the nebula the ‘Great Bloom’, owing its name to it constantly expanding like the petals of a flower.
Originally a tribal society, the Yel have since imposed a more centralized government, divided into a series of councils – each council tasked with a specific aspect of the greater Iani state. Each council sends a chairman to congress – an assembly of the various branches – where decisions and proposals are scrutinized, modified and ultimately sent off to the Emperor for approval.
While largely a figurehead, the Iani Emperor is the final step in this process and either signs proposals into law, or rejects it, pending further modification by congress. The Emperor is not an individual from any royal bloodline, but chosen by lottery from all eligible Iani between 35 and 68 years of age. Each Emperor remains in office until death or 10 years have passed.
Little is known about the general population, save for a common aversion of the open sky thanks to living most of their time in the mist. Skyscrapers are commonly built in the various cities of Mer Serran, but contrary to perception on Earth, the most desirable living and working spaces are found at the base of the towers, with those actively seeking out the upper levels eyed with suspicion.
The Iani military can be summed up in two words: missiles and shields. Rockets were historically the most effective ranged weapons the Iani possessed, as visibility was universally bad on the battlefields, limiting the effectiveness of traditional firearms – early versions of which suffered from the constant humidity, where the sealed rockets generally performed far better. Artillery was also in widespread use far earlier than sidearms or rifles, and Iani infantry squads usually roamed the general area, trying to find conglomerations of enemy troops to zero in the allied firing solution. Due to the heavy emphasis on rocketry and artillery, defensive technology developed accordingly, favouring heavy armour and large bunker networks.
This transferred into space combat, where Yel technology formed the basis for most of the Iani ship development. Iani ships tend to be on the larger side and have a generally cylindrical shape with few features, a few altspace fins and several protruding missile launchers aside. The smallest field deployed units are about threehundred meters in length with a diameter of nearly forty meters. The larger Iani vessels rival the size of a Yel dreadnought with nearly ninehundred meters in length. The large size of Iani vessels is to accommodate vast stores of munitions for protracted engagements, as well as the heavy armour and shielding.
This makes Iani vessels challenging to take down, as one has to get past waves upon waves of missiles in all varieties, and then pound on reinforced shields and hull while Iani close-in weapons open fire.
Iani ships facing certain doom are known to plunge into the middle of hostile formations and detonate their entire stores of missiles all at once – while the hulls are highly resistant to outside forces, internal explosions can easily tear apart an Iani vessel, and in fact is a deliberate design decision. Detonating even a small portion of (remaining) missiles, the entire ship is effectively turned into a threehundred meter (or larger) fragmentation grenade.
On the ground, Iani troops somewhat fill a gap in capability between the special forces operations provided by the Kyaar commandos and the sheer mass tactic based shock force of the Arreki. Iani infantry is quick to move into breaches opened by initial shock troops and establish bridgeheads with portable shield generators and self-deploying minefields, and also often found in garrisons around vital Yel installations.